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We present a shorter edited version of Tony Blair's testimony to the Hutton inquiry on 28 August, published in The Guardian, 29 August 2003
Scroll down to read the complete 2 1/2 hour transcript
The drafting of the Iraq dossier
Q refers to the questions of the inquiry's senior counsel, James Dingemans QC, and of Lord Hutton, and A to the prime minister's answers.
Lord Hutton: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Good morning, prime minister.
Tony Blair: Good morning my lord.
James Dingemans: I do not think we need an introduction. May I start with the dossiers? We have heard that a dossier was being produced in February 2002 which related to four countries, one of which was Iraq. Could you explain the background to that?
A. After September 11 there was a renewed sense of urgency on the question of rogue states and weapons of mass destruction and the link with terrorism, and there was some thought given to trying to bring all that together, identifying the countries that were a particular source of concern to us, one of which was Iraq.
(It was not published in case it "inflamed" the international situation. Instead a new dossier, featuring only Iraq, was ordered on September 3.)
Q. Had you been aware of the proposed role that Mr Campbell was going to take in assisting with the presentation?
A. Well, I was in no doubt that he would assist with the presentation. I . . . knew that it had to be a document that was owned by the joint intelligence committee and the chairman, John Scarlett. That was obviously important because we could not produce this as evidence that came from anything other than an objective source.
Q. Were you aware that this (editing) process was going on?
A. Yes, of course, and it was important that it made the best case that we could make subject, obviously, to it being owned by the joint intelligence committee and that the items of intelligence should be those that the agencies thought could and should be included. So if you like it was a process in which they were in charge of this, correctly, because it was so important to make sure that no one could question the intelligence that was in it as com ing from the genuine intelligence agencies. But obviously, I mean I had to present this to parliament. I was going to make a statement. Parliament was going to be recalled. We were concerned to make sure that we could produce, within the bounds of what was right and proper, the best case.
Q: Can you help us on how the foreword was produced?
A. The normal practice here is I would have told Alastair Campbell what are the items I think that are important, specific points that should be in it, on the basis of the drafts produced, and the foreword was expressed obviously to be my foreword.
Q. I imagine there were various discussions about the dossier, is that right?
A. There were discussions going on about the dossier. I mean, as I say, it was more the facts in the dossier and the statement that were the key items. There could well have been discussions as drafts of the foreword were circulating around.
Q. Also on September 17 Mr Powell sends an email . . . to Alastair Campbell and David Manning. And he says he has three comments: "I think it is worth explicitly stating what the prime minister keeps saying, this is the advice to him from the JIC." Then: "We need to do more to back up the assertions . . ." And: "In the penultimate para you need to make it clear Saddam could not attack us at the moment. The thesis is he would be a threat to the UK in the future if we do not check him."
Q. Did those comments get reflected in the dossier?
A. I think so, yes; but I think the most important thing was I was very careful in my statement to make it clear what we were and were not saying. The purpose of the dossier was to respond to the call to disclose the intelligence that we knew but at that stage the strategy was not to use the dossier as the immediate reason for going to conflict, but as the reason why we had to return to the issue of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction, preferably, as I said later, through the United Nations.
Q. Were you aware of these type of responses from Mr Scarlett (when he refused to strengthen the word "might")?
A. No, I was not aware of the absolute detail of it; but on the other hand, I mean, having read it, it seems to me a perfectly right way of proceeding. In other words, there are certain things that we are asking if they can improve on this or improve on that and they say: Well, we can or we cannot. I think the important thing I would say is that once the decision had been taken that, as it were, John Scarlett and the JIC should actually own this document, it should be their document, then I think everything that was done was subject to that.
Q. Were you aware at the time about any unhappiness amongst members of the intelligence services with the process by which the dossier was being produced?
A. Absolutely not, no . . . The whole business was unusual, but it was in response to an unusual set of circumstances. We were saying this issue had to be returned to by the international community and dealt with. Why were we saying this? Because of the intelligence. Not unnaturally, people said: Well, give us the intelligence insofar as you can.
Q. One other criticism that has been made, again after the event . . . is in the report from the foreign affairs committee. What they say is this: "We conclude that the language used in the September dossier was in places more assertive than that traditionally used in intelligence documents . . ." Do you agree with that comment?
A. I think that we described the intelligence in a way that was perfectly justified and I would simply make this point. Although obviously people look back now on the September dossier in a quite different way, if I make these two points: the first is that the dossier, at the time, was not received as being particularly incautious in tone. On the contrary, a lot of people said that it was done in a fairly prosaic way. So the commentary at the time was not actually that it seemed to be, you know, advancing the case in an adventurous way, if I can put it like that, at all. The commentary was rather to the opposite effect.
Secondly, the 45 minute claim, as I think I say in my witness statement, just a point to make, I mentioned it in the foreword, I mention it in my statement. I think after then I do not think I mention it again in parliament. And I think there is a sense in which it is important to recognise that the September dossier was not making the case for war, it was making the case for the issue to be dealt with; and our preferred alternative was indeed to deal with it through the United Nations route.
The battle with the BBC
Q. Was there a feeling in Downing Street that the government was not being properly represented by the BBC at this stage?
A. There was a feeling, but I do not doubt we are not the first government to be in such a situation, that there were parts of the BBC that were not covering it in as objective a way as we thought, but that happens - I think it happened throughout the business in Afghanistan too. I should imagine we are not the first government and will not be the last government to have such concerns.
Q. Were you aware of Mr Campbell's letters of complaint and the apparent absence of success, so far as getting any major corrections were concerned?
A. Yes, I was aware he had made complaints about certain of the stories. It was not from all parts of the BBC, incidentally, at all. But there were complaints about certain stories.
Q. Can I turn, now, to the May 29 Today broadcast. Where were you at the time?
A. I was in Basra with the British troops when I was told about the claim, I think shortly after it was made.
Q. And what was your reaction to that?
A. Well, it was an extraordinary allegation to make and an extremely serious one.
Q. What were you told of the allegation, prime minister? How was it reported to you?
A. It was reported to me - I cannot actually recall whether I got an actual written transcript of what was said, but I think I even may have, but the things that absolutely stood out and were extraordinary, in my view, were (1) that this 45 minutes claim had been inserted into the dossier at the behest of No 10 Downing Street; (2) that it was done by us I think the words were "probably knowing it was wrong"; and (3) that we had done it contrary to the wishes of the intelligence services. I think that then the report went on to say: and that this information had been supplied by someone who was in charge of the process of drawing up the dossier.
Q. Was that the main charge to which you were responding at the time?
A. Yes, I mean, this was an absolutely fundamental charge. It is one thing to say: we disagree with the government, you should not have gone to war . . . This was an allegation that we had behaved in a way that were it true - as I say in my statement, tested in this way, had the allegation been true, it would have merited my resignation. It was not a small allegation, it was absolutely fundamental. What really I think from that moment on made the thing extremely difficult was there was then a Mail on Sunday article by Mr Gilligan that named Alastair Campbell as the person who had done this effectively. There was some huge great headline.
Q. You considered putting this to the intelligence and security committee, in a way of dealing with the issue?
A. It was clear, because there were a lot of calls for inquiries, there was going to have to be some sort of inquiry into it. I thought that the intelligence and security committee were the right people to deal with this . . . I agreed I would publish their report, so there was no question of suppressing their judgment on it. They meet in private. Contrary to what some people say, I appoint the people but after consultation with the opposition leaders in respect of their people serving on it.
Q. This is the broadcast that was made, the early morning broadcast. (Excerpts were read out)
A. Yes. Well, you know, look, any person listening to that would think that we had done something improper, The whole thing since then has been, not did the government make the wrong decision, but did the government dupe us, did the government in a sense defraud people over it? That has been the central charge. My view . . . has been that the only thing that was going to remove that was . . . a clear and unequivocal statement that the original story was wrong. There is no doubt that (the BBC) shifted to saying: look, we are not attacking your integrity, we just say this is what was told to us, and so on. But the real problem was that the original allegation had been made, it had then been, as I say, backed up and really had booster rockets put on it by the Mail on Sunday article . . . The fact is that the entire original allegation was an attack on our integrity . . . an attack that went to the heart of not just the office of prime minister but also the way our intelligence ser vices operated. It went in a sense to the credibility, I felt, of the country, never mind the prime minister.
Q. Mr Campbell also made what the BBC perceived to be wider attacks on their journalism. He described the story as a lie and he described the BBC in less than flattering terms. Was this an escalation of the dispute between No 10 and the BBC that you were aware of?
A. No, I do not think it was - I mean, it was important, frankly, for reasons that I say in my witness statement, that we made it clear we were not attacking the BBC's independence.
Q. I think a possible indication from Mr Sambrook's statement is that there is a difference between the BBC directly making an allegation that someone or the government has acted improperly and the BBC reporting someone else's view that a person or the government has acted improperly. Do you have any comment?
A. I think if you are to make that distinction then in your reporting of it on May 29 you make it a very clear thing. I think if one takes the newspaper article on the Sunday, I think you would be hard put to say: somebody said this thing but we stand back from it. It was not coming across like that . . .
On the morning of July 7, I had an entirely private conversation with Gavyn Davies, chairman of the BBC, at my request, to see if there was some way we could find a way through this; and it was a perfectly amicable discussion but we were not able to come to an agreement. He explained that he felt he . . . could not actually retract the original story, that would compromise the BBC's independence . . . I think all the way through we were anxious to get things back on a normal footing and indeed the lunch on June 12 was a part of a desire to do that. After all, the BBC is the main broadcasting outlet. It is not really very sensible for the government to be in a situation where we have a continuing dispute with the BBC.
The outing of Dr Kelly
Q. When was the first time you heard that a possible source for Mr Gilligan's story had come forward?
A. I was away on a visit in the North West on July 3 and I was telephoned by Jonathan Powell, my chief of staff.
Q. Were you given a name, at that time?
A. No, I do not recall being given a name at that time. I cannot recall when I first heard the name. I mean, it may have been in these telephone conversations. It may not have been . . .
Q. Did you get (a) letter that evening (July 4) ?
A. Yes. I got that letter that was faxed to me, I think, by David Omand and that then, you know, gave a certain amount of evidence obviously as to what Dr Kelly had said in the interview that he had had with the Ministry of Defence.
Q. Your own judgment was?
A. My own judgment was obviously with an issue with so much political focus on it as this, when someone was being interviewed and reinterviewed and presumably people were talking about it within the system, then you have an article in the Times, I think I would have thought there was a fair possibility it would leak in any event.
Q. Who did you have your discussions with over that weekend?
A. Yes. I mean, my recollection is that on the Saturday Alastair called me . . . he raised the issue of the source because he had been told that by the defence secretary and his worry, he thought the information was plainly relevant and were we not going to be criticised for withholding it. I said to him what was my firm view throughout that we had to proceed in a way that Sir Kevin and David Omand were entirely content with . . .
Q. Did you know that at this stage there was no question of the Official Secrets Act being invoked?
A. I cannot recall exactly when, but I think during the course of that weekend, and if not certainly pretty early on the Monday, I said: what is going to happen here? And it was explained to me that this was not an Official Secrets Act point . . .
Q. So you had understood, at this stage, that any public involvement of Dr Kelly was to be on the basis of his cooperation?
A. Yes. Look, right at the very outset, part of this difficulty was he had come forward. The question was: what do we now do with that information, in particular in relation to the FAC; and I cannot recall exactly when I was told this, but I think it was said he realised he might end up having to give evidence.
Q. What was your view about the situation with Dr Kelly now, in terms of disclosing that someone had come forward?
A. I thought that it was likely on the basis of what we had been told that he was the source, and in any event, in a sense, as important as anything else, he had been interviewed and reinterviewed, and certainly, as it was relayed to me, it looked more likely than not that he was the source.
Q. Why was there a need to make public the fact that a source had come forward?
A. I think, first of all, we were at any point concerned, as I said a moment or two ago, I think we were quite surprised on the Monday it had not already come out, but we thought that it was likely to come out at any particular point. And, secondly, because once you had copied it to the FAC - I thought there was a remote possibility the FAC might decide not to interview him, but I rather thought that they would.
Q. We know that a press statement is issued by the Ministry of Defence. Were you aware of any assistance with the drafting of this press statement being given by officials within No. 10?
A. I think certainly it came to Jonathan and I may have scanned my eye over it myself, but I cannot absolutely recall that.
Q. Was there any discussion about pressure Dr Kelly might be exposed to when you were having the meetings on July 8?
A. Obviously, one of the things that was part of the conversation that we were having was what Dr Kelly did, what sort of person was he, what experience did he have. I mean, all I can say is that there is nothing in the discussion that we had that would have alerted us to him being anything other than someone, you know, of a certain robustness . . .
Q: Was, at this stage, a view being taken that having put the press statement out for the reasons you have given, Dr Kelly's arrival now might be used by the government for their own advantages?
A. In one sense, Dr Kelly had come forward and said: I did not say the things Mr Gilligan says I said. On the other hand, you can never be sure of these situations; and actually what happened when the FAC did interview him was precisely that the situation was not conclusive at all.
Complete 2 and a half hours Transcript
Source: Hutton inquiry Website at http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/
1 Thursday, 28th August 2003
2 (10.30 am)
3 MR ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON BLAIR (called)
4 Examined by MR DINGEMANS
5 LORD HUTTON: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Good
6 morning Prime Minister.
7 A. Good morning my Lord.
8 MR DINGEMANS: I do not think we need an introduction. May
9 I start with the dossiers? We have heard that a dossier
10 was being produced in February 2002 which related to
11 four countries, one of which was Iraq. Could you
12 explain the background to that?
13 A. After September 11th there was a renewed sense of
14 urgency on the question of rogue states and weapons of
15 mass destruction and the link with terrorism, and there
16 was some thought given to trying to bring all that
17 together, identifying the countries that were
18 a particular source of concern to us, one of which was
20 Q. We have heard that the dossier was then pursued against
21 Iraq alone in about February/March time. Why was the
22 decision made to concentrate on Iraq alone?
23 A. Again, as I say in my witness statement, I think given
24 history Iraq was a special case. It was in breach of
25 United Nations resolutions. It had a history of using
1 weapons of mass destruction against its own people. So
2 there was a sense that Iraq as it were fitted a special
4 Q. We know that the dossier got at least in its earlier
5 stages to a final state in early March time but was not
7 A. Hmm.
8 Q. What was the reason for that?
9 A. We had a draft, but this thing was already beginning to
10 build as a very major story. Frankly we were months
11 away from deciding our strategy on this issue. I took
12 the view in the end, and discussed it with the
13 Foreign Secretary, and we both agreed that it would
14 inflame the situation too much in order to publish it at
15 this stage.
16 Q. We have also heard that on 3rd September you do announce
17 that dossier is going to be published.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What changed?
20 A. What changed was really two things which came together.
21 First of all, there was a tremendous amount of
22 information and evidence coming across my desk as to the
23 weapons of mass destruction and the programmes
24 associated with it that Saddam had. There was also
25 a renewed sense of urgency, again, in the way that this
1 was being publicly debated. I recall throughout the
2 August break last year literally every day there were
3 stories appearing saying we were about to go and invade
4 Iraq. Military action had been decided upon.
5 President Bush and I had a telephone call towards
6 the end of that break and we decided: look, we really
7 had to confront this issue, devise our strategy and get
8 on with it and I took the view, in the end, and said
9 this at the press conference I gave in my constituency
10 on 3rd September, that we really had to disclose what we
11 knew or as much as we could of what we knew. That was
12 because there was an enormous clamour. Here we were
13 saying: this is a big problem, we have to deal with it.
14 Why did we say it was a big problem? Because of the
15 intelligence. And people were naturally saying: produce
16 that intelligence then.
17 Q. What was the aim of the dossier?
18 A. The aim of the dossier was to disclose the reason for
19 our concern and the reason why we believed this issue
20 had to be confronted.
21 Q. We have heard evidence that after your announcement on
22 3rd September, there was a meeting in Downing Street
23 chaired by Alastair Campbell on 5th September, where the
24 presentational sides of the dossier were discussed, and
25 after that meeting an e-mail was exchanged. Can I take
1 you to that? That is CAB/11/17.
2 A. That is going to come up here, is it?
3 Q. I hope so. What you can see is about 13.50 -- we
4 understand the meeting was about noon -- Mr Powell
5 e-mailed Mr Campbell:
6 "What did you decide on dossiers?"
7 "Re dossier, substantial rewrite, with JS
8 [John Scarlett] and Julian Miller in charge, which JS
9 will take to US next Friday, and be in shape Monday
10 thereafter. Structure as per TB's discussion.
11 Agreement that there has to be real intelligence
12 material in their presentation as such."
13 Had you at this stage discussed the structure of the
14 dossier with Mr Campbell?
15 A. I think I had discussed it in outline at least, that it
16 was important that it dealt with Iraq and the question
17 of weapons of mass destruction. We would obviously have
18 to deal with the main elements of that because that
19 after all was our case.
20 Q. And had you been aware of the proposed role that
21 Mr Campbell was going to take in assisting with the
23 A. Well, I was in no doubt that he would assist with the
24 presentation. I cannot recall exactly when but
25 certainly around that time. However, I also knew that
1 it had to be a document that was owned by the Joint
2 Intelligence Committee and the Chairman, John Scarlett.
3 That was obviously important because we could not
4 produce this as evidence that came from anything other
5 than an objective source.
6 Q. We have heard that there was a draft of the dossier
7 produced on 10th September, and we have seen that.
8 I will not take you to that, if that is all right. What
9 was the first draft of the dossier that you actually
11 A. As I say in my statement I believe I saw the
12 10th September draft and I commented on drafts of the
13 16th and 19th and I made certain comments on that. But
14 obviously in the end, of course, it all had to be
15 produced and done through the process of the JIC.
16 Q. We have also seen some JIC assessments, redacted JIC
17 assessments of 5th and 9th September which deal with the
18 45 minute issue. When did you see those?
19 A. I have seen the JIC assessment on 9th September but
20 other than that, I do not think I made a comment on the
21 45 minutes in respect of the dossier.
22 Q. But you may have seen it as it went through in the draft
23 of the 10th September?
24 A. Yes, I suppose that -- if it was in the 10th September
25 draft I would have seen it.
1 Q. Can I take you to an e-mail dated 11th September which
2 is CAB/23/15? This was an e-mail that Mr Scarlett
3 produced. What this says is:
4 "We have now received comments back from No. 10 on
5 the first draft of the dossier. Unsurprisingly they
6 have further questions and areas they would like
8 Then the main comments are set out.
9 A. Hmm, hmm.
10 Q. They liked, for example, a specific personality.
11 "Is there any intelligence that Iraq has actively
12 sought to employ foreign experts ..."
13 And 3 and 4, similar detailed comments. Then this
14 is said at the bottom:
15 "I appreciate everyone, us included, has been around
16 at least some of these buoys before, particularly item
17 4. But No. 10 through the Chairman want the document to
18 be as strong as possible within the bounds of available
19 intelligence. This is therefore a last(!) call for any
20 items of intelligence that agencies think can and should
21 be included."
22 Were you aware that this process was going on?
23 A. Yes, of course, and it was important that it made the
24 best case that we could make subject, obviously, to it
25 being owned by the Joint Intelligence Committee and that
1 the items of intelligence should be those that the
2 agencies thought could and should be included. So if
3 you like it was a process in which they were in charge
4 of this, correctly, because it was so important to make
5 sure that no-one could question the intelligence that
6 was in it as coming from the genuine intelligence
7 agencies, but obviously I mean I had to present this to
8 Parliament. I was going to make a statement.
9 Parliament was going to be recalled. We were concerned
10 to make sure that we could produce, within the bounds of
11 what was right and proper, the best case.
12 LORD HUTTON: So you would agree, Prime Minister, that the
13 wording that "No. 10 through the Chairman want the
14 document to be as strong as possible within the bounds
15 of available intelligence" is a fair way of putting your
16 view and the view of your staff in No. 10?
17 A. Provided that is clearly understood as meaning that it
18 is only if the intelligence agencies thought both that
19 the actual intelligence should be included and that
20 there was not improper weight being given to any aspect
21 of that intelligence. In other words, given that the
22 process was that they had to decide what it was we could
23 properly say, then obviously we wanted to -- we had to
24 make this case because this was the case that we
25 believed in and this was the evidence that we had,
1 because all of this stuff was obviously stuff that had
2 come across my desk.
3 LORD HUTTON: And that is conveyed by the words "as strong
4 as possible within the bounds of available
6 A. Yes, and also the last sentence I draw attention to.
7 I did not see this e-mail at the time, but you know any
8 items --
9 LORD HUTTON: Quite. The last sentence:
10 "This is therefore a last(!) call for any items of
11 intelligence that agencies think can and should be
13 A. Yes, exactly.
14 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
15 MR DINGEMANS: We have heard that the foreword was produced.
16 We have looked at the dossiers, we have seen the
17 dossiers, your signature appears with that. Can you
18 help us on how the foreword was produced?
19 A. Again, as I say in my witness statement, the foreword
20 would be -- the normal practice here is I would have
21 told Alastair Campbell what are the items I think that
22 are important, specific points that should be in it, on
23 the basis of the drafts produced, and the foreword was
24 expressed obviously to be my foreword. I should say at
25 this point that probably my statement was the thing
1 I was concentrating most upon.
2 Q. We will come to your statement, if I may. CAB/11/38 is
3 the first document we see with the foreword. It is from
4 Felicity Hatfield, who Mr Campbell told us worked for
5 him, to Alison Blackshaw, with a draft of the dossier.
6 That followed conversations. We can just see the Word
7 document which says -- it is very small writing -- but
8 "AC -- TB Foreword -- DO."
9 If we go to CAB/11/39 you will probably recognise
10 the dossier foreword by TB?
11 A. Hmm, hmm.
12 Q. That appears to be the first draft we can see. That
13 followed the discussions you had with Mr Campbell?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. There is a slight variation on that at CAB/11/49. We
16 can see another draft, a revised dossier foreword.
17 I imagine there were various discussions about the
18 dossier, is that right?
19 A. There were discussions going on about the dossier.
20 I mean, as I say, it was more the facts in the dossier
21 and the statement that were the key items. There could
22 well have been discussions as drafts of the foreword
23 were circulating around.
24 Q. Also on 17th September Mr Powell sends an e-mail, which
25 is at CAB/11/53, to Alastair Campbell and David Manning.
1 It does not appear as it were to get e-mailed to you.
2 A. Hmm.
3 Q. And he says he has three comments:
4 "I think it is worth explicitly stating what the
5 Prime Minister keeps saying, this is the advice to him
6 from the JIC."
8 "We need to do more to back up the assertions ..."
10 "In the penultimate para you need to make it clear
11 Saddam could not attack us at the moment. The thesis is
12 he would be a threat to the UK in the future if we do
13 not check him."
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did those comments get reflected in the dossier?
16 A. I think so, yes; but I think the most important thing
17 was I was very careful in my statement to make it clear
18 what we were and were not saying. I think it is just
19 important to emphasise this point. The purpose of the
20 dossier was to respond to the call to disclose the
21 intelligence that we knew but at that stage the strategy
22 was not to use the dossier as the immediate reason for
23 going to conflict, but as the reason why we had to
24 return to the issue of Saddam and weapons of mass
25 destruction preferably, as I said later, through the
1 United Nations.
2 Q. On 17th September, there is also a memo that Mr Campbell
3 sent to Mr Scarlett. It is CAB/11/66. You can see in
4 the first paragraph he says:
5 "Please find below a number of drafting points. As
6 I was writing this, the Prime Minister had a read of the
7 draft you gave me this morning, and he too made a number
8 of points. He has also read my draft foreword, which
9 I enclose (he will want another look at it before
10 finally signing it off but I'd appreciate your views at
11 this stage)."
12 A. Hmm, hmm.
13 Q. Then a number of comments are made. Over the page, at
14 67, we can see if you scroll down:
15 "'Vivid and horrifying', re human rights, doesn't
16 fit ..." and effectively should go.
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. Item 9:
19 "... 'might' reads very weakly."
20 Item 10:
21 "... 'may' is weaker than in the summary."
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were you aware these type of comments were being passed
24 by Mr Campbell to Mr Scarlett?
25 A. I cannot say I was aware of each and every specific
1 comment but I was certainly aware of the fact, as I say,
2 because this was going to be a publicly presented
3 document, that he would be making comments upon it all
4 subject, of course, to the fact that it had to be in the
5 end the work of the JIC.
6 Q. And in fact, if we go to CAB/11/70, we can see
7 Mr Scarlett's response, which is dated 18th September,
8 and he thanks Mr Campbell for the minute. He talks
9 about the reordering of chapter 3 and he makes some
10 specific comments. At paragraph 6 he turns to the
11 detailed comments:
12 "... we have been able to amend the text in most
13 cases as you proposed. Taking your points in sequence:
14 "1. We have strengthened language on current
15 concerns and plans, including in the executive summary.
16 The summary also brings out the point on sanctions and
17 containment, as you proposed."
18 A. Hmm, hmm.
19 Q. He says at the bottom:
20 "... the intelligence supports only 'may have'" for
21 item 2.
22 If we go over the page to 71, you can see 6, he
24 "'Vivid and horrifying' has been dropped."
25 A. Hmm, hmm.
1 Q. 9 he says he cannot improve on "might", but on 10 he
2 says that the language you queried on the old page 17
3 has been tightened.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were you aware of these type of responses from
6 Mr Scarlett?
7 A. No, I was not aware of the absolute detail of it; but on
8 the other hand, I mean, having read it, it seems to me
9 a perfectly right way of proceeding. In other words,
10 there are certain things that we are asking if they can
11 improve on this or improve on that and they say: well,
12 we can or we cannot. I think the important thing
13 I would say is that once the decision had been taken
14 that, as it were, John Scarlett and the JIC should
15 actually own this document, it should be their document,
16 then I think everything that was done was subject to
18 Obviously it was vitally important when we got to
19 Parliament and produced this document that I was able to
20 stand up absolutely clearly and say: look, this is the
21 work of the joint intelligence agencies, they stand
22 behind the intelligence that is here.
23 Q. You said I think that your main preoccupation at this
24 time was preparing your statement for Parliament?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was Parliament, in fact, recalled to look at the
3 A. Yes. We recalled Parliament on 24th September.
4 Q. Is there anything from your statement to Parliament that
5 you wanted to emphasise?
6 A. I think the only thing, as I do in my witness statement
7 to you, is just to emphasise the fact that I make it
8 clear what I perceived the threat to be. I said, if
9 I could read this very briefly:
10 "'Why now?' people ask. I agree I cannot say that
11 this month or next, even this year or next, that he will
12 use his weapons. But I can say that if the
13 international community having made the call for his
14 disarmament, now, at this moment, at the point of
15 decision, shrugs its shoulders and walks away, he will
16 draw the conclusion dictators faced with a weakening
17 will always draw. That the international community will
18 talk but not act ..."
19 Then I go on to say:
20 "If we take this course, he will carry on, his
21 efforts will intensify, his confidence grow and at some
22 point, in a future not too distant, the threat will turn
23 into reality. The threat therefore is not imagined.
24 The history of Sadaam and WMD is not American or British
25 propaganda. The history and the present threat are
2 Q. And that was the process by which the dossier was
3 produced, as far as you had any involvement in it?
4 A. Yes, that is right.
5 Q. Were you aware at the time about any unhappiness amongst
6 members of the Intelligence Services with the process by
7 which the dossier was being produced?
8 A. Absolutely not, no.
9 Q. We have now seen some e-mails that had been sent around.
10 An example, just so that you can see it, is at MoD/4/11,
11 which is a letter dated 8th July 2003, so after the
12 event, but it relates to a complaint or a matter that
13 was raised.
14 He is writing to the Deputy Chief of Defence
15 Intelligence. The name has been redacted. He says, in
16 the second paragraph:
17 "Your records will show that as an ADI NBC ST, and
18 probably the most senior and experienced intelligence
19 community official working on 'WMD', I was so concerned
20 about the manner in which intelligence assessments for
21 which I had some responsibility were being presented in
22 the dossier of 24 September 2002, that I was moved to
23 write formally to your predecessor, Tony Cragg,
24 recording and explaining my reservations."
25 Had any of those complaints as it were worked their
1 way up as far as the JIC or to you?
2 A. No, they did not. I mean, I should say that this was
3 a -- the question of whether we produced intelligence,
4 though, was a very, very difficult question.
5 I mean, on the one hand it is not normal for you to
6 do this. I mean, intelligence, as I say in my witness
7 statement, is intelligence and it has to be handled with
8 care. On the other hand, the clamour for us to produce
9 the reasons why -- here was I saying this is the
10 situation with Saddam and weapons of mass destruction we
11 have to deal with. The clamour for us to produce the
12 evidence for this was obviously very, very strong.
13 So, in a sense, the 24th September dossier was an
14 unusual -- the whole business was unusual, but it was in
15 response to an unusual set of circumstances. We were
16 saying this issue had to be returned to by the
17 international community and dealt with. Why were we
18 saying this? Because of the intelligence. Not
19 unnaturally, people said: well, give us the intelligence
20 insofar as you can.
21 Q. There are various other e-mails but I will not take you
22 to those.
23 One other criticism that has been made, again after
24 the event, is at FAC/3/34. This is in the report from
25 the Foreign Affairs Committee. It is at paragraph 100.
1 What they say is this:
2 "We conclude that the language used in the September
3 dossier was in places more assertive than that
4 traditionally used in intelligence documents. We
5 believe that there is much value in retaining the
6 measured and even cautious tones which have been the
7 hallmark of intelligence assessments and we recommend
8 that this approach be retained."
9 Do you agree with that comment?
10 A. I think that we described the intelligence in a way that
11 was perfectly justified and I would simply make this
12 point: although obviously people look back now on the
13 September dossier in a quite different way, if I make
14 these two points: the first is that the dossier, at the
15 time, was not received as being particularly incautious
16 in tone. On the contrary, a lot of people said that it
17 was done in a fairly prosaic way. So the commentary at
18 the time was not actually that it seemed to be, you
19 know, advancing the case in an adventurous way, if I can
20 put it like that, at all. The commentary was rather to
21 the opposite effect.
22 Secondly, the 45 minute claim, as I think I say in
23 my witness statement, just a point to make, I mentioned
24 it in the foreword, I mention it in my statement.
25 I think after then I do not think I mention it again in
1 Parliament. Indeed, on the 18th March debate, which was
2 the crucial debate, where Parliament decided that it was
3 going to opt for conflict, I do not think it came up at
4 all, and I think there is a sense in which it is
5 important to recognise that the September dossier was
6 not making the case for war, it was making the case for
7 the issue to be dealt with; and our preferred
8 alternative was indeed to deal with it through the
9 United Nations route.
10 Q. Now, one of the points that was made by some of the
11 witnesses from the BBC was, in fact, that the Government
12 had not relied on the 45 minutes claim after it had
13 featured in the dossier.
14 A. Hmm.
15 Q. And they perceived that may be because the Government
16 had doubts about whether or not it should have been put
17 in there in the first place. Is that right?
18 A. No, that is absolutely wrong. There was absolutely no
19 reason for us to doubt that intelligence at all. Can
20 I just emphasise again, the whole purpose of having the
21 JIC own this document was in order to provide the
22 absolute clarity and certainty -- whatever discussions
23 were going on as to how you presented it -- that in the
24 end they were perfectly happy with this. And I think it
25 was -- it was certainly part of our conversation in the
1 early December period that for very, very obvious
2 reasons it was essential that anything that we said in
3 the course of my statement or in the dossier we could
4 hand on heart say: this is the assessment of the Joint
5 Intelligence Committee.
6 Q. If I can move away from the dossier now with one final
7 question: were you aware at all of Dr Kelly's
8 involvement in any historic or current drafting of the
10 A. No, I was not.
11 Q. We have seen correspondence between Mr Campbell and
12 Mr Sambrook relating to complaints about BBC coverage.
13 They go back, some of the documents we have seen, to the
14 war in Afghanistan and then the war in Iraq.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Was there a feeling in Downing Street that the
17 Government was not being properly represented by the BBC
18 at this stage?
19 A. There was a feeling, but I do not doubt we are not the
20 first Government to be in such a situation, that there
21 were parts of the BBC that were not covering it in as
22 objective a way as we thought, but that happens --
23 I think it happened throughout the business in
24 Afghanistan too. I should imagine we are not the first
25 Government and will not be the last Government to have
1 such concerns.
2 Q. Were you aware of Mr Campbell's letters of complaint and
3 the apparent absence of success, so far as getting any
4 major corrections were concerned?
5 A. Yes, I was aware he had made complaints about certain of
6 the stories. It was not from all parts of the BBC,
7 incidentally, at all. But there were complaints about
8 certain stories.
9 Q. We have seen the letters which are specific to certain
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can I turn, now, to the 29th May Today broadcast. Where
13 were you at the time?
14 A. I was in Basra with the British troops when I was told
15 about the claim, I think shortly after it was made.
16 Q. And what was your reaction to that?
17 A. Well, it was an extraordinary allegation to make and an
18 extremely serious one.
19 Q. What did you do to --
20 LORD HUTTON: What were you told of the allegation
21 Prime Minister? How was it reported to you?
22 A. It was reported to me -- I cannot actually recall
23 whether I got an actual written transcript of what was
24 said, but I think I even may have, but the things that
25 absolutely stood out and were extraordinary, in my view,
1 were (1) that this 45 minutes claim had been inserted
2 into the dossier at the behest of No. 10 Downing Street;
3 (2) that it was done by us I think the words were
4 "probably knowing it was wrong"; and (3) that we had
5 done it contrary to the wishes of the Intelligence
7 I think that then the report went on to say: and
8 that this information had been supplied by someone who
9 was in charge of the process of drawing up the dossier.
10 So, obviously it was an extremely serious allegation.
11 MR DINGEMANS: What steps were taken to correct the record?
12 A. Well, we issued a strong denial, which did not really go
14 Q. Can I take you to some speeches that you made at the
15 time? It is CAB/1/158. These are some extracts that
16 have been prepared. I think after you were in Kuwait
17 and in Iraq, you then went to Poland; is that right?
18 A. Yes, absolutely. Yes.
19 Q. And you can see what you say at the top:
20 "... the idea that we authorised or made our
21 intelligence agencies invent some piece of evidence is
22 completely absurd ..."
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was that the main charge to which you were responding at
25 the time?
1 A. Yes, I mean, look, this was an absolutely fundamental
2 charge. It is one thing to say: we disagree with the
3 Government, you should not have gone to war. People can
4 have a disagreement about that. This was an allegation
5 that we had behaved in a way that were it true -- as
6 I say in my statement, tested in this way, had the
7 allegation been true, it would have merited my
8 resignation. It was not a small allegation, it was
9 absolutely fundamental. The next day in Poland
10 I thought we might have been able to deal with it on day
11 one just by saying: look, this is completely untrue.
12 Day two, when we were in Poland, I then asked --
13 I cannot remember exactly who and how it all came about,
14 but I said: look, you have to check this out. What is
15 more, you have to check it out with John Scarlett and
16 the JIC people that we can say definitively and
17 emphatically this is not the case. The dossier was the
18 work of the JIC and they were entirely happy with it.
19 I then made that emphasis at the press conference;
20 and I hoped then that the strength of denial might put
21 it to rest, but it did not. What really I think from
22 that moment on made the thing extremely difficult was
23 there was then a Mail on Sunday article by Mr Gilligan
24 that then named Alastair Campbell as the person who had
25 done this effectively. I cannot remember -- there was
1 some huge great headline.
2 Q. We have seen the article.
3 A. Yes. What that then did was -- you already have this
4 extraordinarily serious allegation which, if it were
5 true, would mean we had behaved in the most disgraceful
6 way and I would have to resign as Prime Minister. Then
7 what you had was a very specific allegation, and putting
8 Alastair Campbell into this.
9 Now, if I can say this with all sort of due
10 deference to the media and everyone, I mean the
11 insertion of Alastair's name was -- once you then put
12 that into the pot along with everything else, you have
13 something that is no longer a small item. There is the
14 person who is a BBC correspondent saying specifically
15 that his source for this someone in charge of drawing up
16 the dossier had named Alastair Campbell as the person
17 who put it in.
18 The combination of those things, both the original
19 report and then the Sunday newspaper follow-up, to be
20 frank, ever since then that has been the issue. I mean,
21 we are three months on and it is still the issue.
22 Q. You considered, I think we have heard from Mr Campbell,
23 putting this to the Intelligence and Security Committee,
24 in a way of dealing with the issue; is that right?
25 A. Well, what happened then was we were then in a complete
1 and full storm. I do not make any criticism at all of
2 the opposition parties, everybody, but by the time we
3 got to Monday in the Parliament, it was more or less
4 a given that this is what had happened, that
5 Alastair Campbell had actually produced the
6 intelligence, not the Joint Intelligence Committee.
7 Well, unsurprisingly that was a pretty big issue.
8 There was a raging storm going on. And it was clear,
9 because there were a lot of calls for inquiries, there
10 was going to have to be some sort of inquiry into it.
11 I thought that the Intelligence and Security Committee
12 were the right people to deal with this. I thought they
13 were the best people to deal with it. I thought they
14 would deal with it in a sensible way, and I also thought
15 this is within a fairly narrow compass of fact. We
16 either did this thing or we did not do this thing. So,
17 if they were able to look at it, and make a decision,
18 then that would be the best way of dealing with it.
19 Q. Now, in fact while on CAB/1/158, if we scroll down to
20 the bottom of that page, we can see comments that you
21 made to Parliament on 4th June, extracts from Hansard,
22 again denying in vigorous terms the story.
23 A. Hmm.
24 Q. Going over the page to 159, and I think it is the second
25 paragraph, it says this:
1 "Rather than having allegations made by anonymous
2 sources that are completely untrue, is not it better
3 that people with evidence should present it to the
4 Intelligence and Security Committee and allow that
5 Committee to make a judgment?"
6 A. Hmm.
7 Q. That is what you were hoping to do as at 4th June; is
8 that right?
9 A. Yes, and I thought they were the best people --
10 I thought all the way through they were the best people
11 to do this. I agreed I would publish their report, so
12 there was no question of suppressing their judgment on
13 it. They meet in private. They are pretty discreet.
14 Contrary to what some people say, I appoint the people
15 but after consultation with the opposition leaders in
16 respect of their people serving on it. And they are
17 senior Parliamentarians with a lot of experience.
18 I thought they would be the best people to deal with it.
19 I did not, I confess, right at the very beginning think
20 that the FAC were the right people to deal with it.
21 Q. At about this time the FAC are announcing they are going
22 to hold their inquiry. What was your attitude to that?
23 A. My attitude to it was that I did not think that was the
24 best thing. I thought, for the reasons I have given,
25 that the Intelligence and Security Committee -- however,
1 it is not up to me to say what the FAC look into. You
2 know, as I say in my witness statement, I worried right
3 at the very beginning that when a Select Committee is
4 looking at an issue that is such a huge and hot
5 political issue in a sense, that the danger always is
6 that it splits down party lines, that the whole thing
7 becomes difficult.
8 I thought that the best way of dealing with it, as
9 I say, was through the ISC. I made that clear. But on
10 the other hand, you know, the argument, to be fair to
11 those people who were opposed to that, they said: look,
12 the FAC is a Select Committee. The ISC reports to you
13 as Prime Minister, so the FAC are the right people to
14 look at this. Well, it is an argument.
15 Q. We can see what the FAC thought at FAC/3/10. This is in
16 their report that is published on 7th July. And at
17 paragraph 6 they said that they were strongly of the
18 view that they were entitled to a greater degree of
19 cooperation from the Government on access to witnesses
20 and intelligence materials, and they talk about the
21 correspondence in relation to Mr Campbell and the fact
22 that he then appeared and "we asked for direct access to
23 the JIC assessments".
24 A. Hmm, hmm.
25 Q. "That was refused, although some extracts were read to
1 us in private session. We are confident that our
2 inquiry would have been enhanced if our requests had
3 been met."
4 Then they do balance it at the bottom of the
5 paragraph by saying:
6 "Yet it is fair to state that within the
7 Government's self-imposed restraints the
8 Foreign Secretary sought to be forthcoming ... in
9 private session ..."
10 They note the differences between their inquiry and
11 the ISC in paragraph 7, I think making the points that
12 you have just made:
13 "... the Prime Minister has repeatedly said in the
14 House that he will cooperate fully with a parallel
15 inquiry by the statutory Intelligence and Security
16 Committee. This is hardly surprising, since the
17 Committee was appointed by and reports to him, and it
18 meets entirely in private. The Foreign Affairs
19 Committee, on the other hand, was appointed by and
20 reports to the House of Commons ... We believe that our
21 inquiry is the more credible of the two ..."
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were those views you shared?
24 A. Well, I did, not unsurprisingly. I mean, what I thought
25 was, yes, fine, the ISC it is true meets in private and
1 reports to me, but I had agreed I would publish their
2 report. So that point as it were was taken care of.
3 And although they are appointed by me, as I say, the
4 people on them who are from different political parties
5 are appointed after consultation with me. They are
6 senior Parliamentarians, they are experienced people,
7 all of them, and they had shown quite clearly, for
8 example over the report they did on the Bali bombing,
9 they were perfectly prepared to be independent. I had
10 no doubt at all they would get to the truth of this.
11 In relation to the previous paragraph, in a sense
12 that does accurately reflect the fact that I was not
13 keen on the FAC doing this. I was worried about the
14 precedent of No. 10 officials appearing, which is why
15 originally I said that I did not think Alastair should
16 appear. I think there was concern as well from the
17 intelligence people about how much we would say. But in
18 the end I mean Alastair did appear and the
19 Foreign Secretary actually read them out the JIC
20 assessment of the 9th September about the 45 minute
22 Q. At this time, and this is all early June, when you were
23 saying the ISC is going to report --
24 A. Hmm, hmm.
25 Q. -- Mr Campbell is writing various private letters to the
1 BBC and getting various private responses. Were you
2 aware of those letters being exchanged?
3 A. I was aware he was in correspondence with the BBC.
4 I was not aware of the details of it, but I was aware of
5 the fact that he was still trying to get the story
7 Q. Then on 12th June we have heard that there was a lunch
8 with the BBC.
9 A. Hmm.
10 Q. Do you recall that?
11 A. I do.
12 Q. And was anything said in relation to this criticism that
13 had been made, as you perceived it, of the Government in
14 relation to the intelligence assessments?
15 A. It was a lunch that really was about trying to make sure
16 we all got back on terms with each other. So it was not
17 done in an aggressive way, I may say. But obviously we
18 discussed Iraq and the issues to do with Iraq.
19 Curiously, we never got into the should they apologise,
20 should we apologise part of it. It was somewhat
21 overshadowed by the fact that that day we had
22 a reshuffle, so it was necessarily somewhat truncated,
23 I think.
24 Q. And so the issue of the report, Mr Gilligan's report,
25 was it ever expressly raised?
1 A. No, I think the general issue to do with Iraq was
2 raised, but this had obviously already been raised in
3 correspondence; and I think my purpose in the lunch, in
4 a sense, was more to do with a discussion with them that
5 allowed us to be on terms with each other.
6 Q. In the hope that the dispute might go away or ...?
7 A. All the way through we hoped the dispute might go away.
8 But the only way it was going to go away was if they
9 said clearly and unequivocally that the original story
10 was wrong and it was pretty obvious by then that they
11 were not going to.
12 Q. That is 12th June. We can then go on to 19th June when
13 Mr Gilligan gives evidence to the Foreign Affairs
14 Committee. Were you aware of the fact that he was
15 giving evidence or had given evidence to the Foreign
16 Affairs Committee?
17 A. Yes, I mean I would have been aware that he was giving
19 Q. He was asked by the Foreign Affairs Committee at
20 FAC/2/145 -- it is question 461, which is at the bottom
21 of the page, if I can take you to that. Mr Pope asked
23 "Just on the issue of the 45 minutes, I want to be
24 very clear about what your source is alleging. Is your
25 source alleging that the 45 minutes did not exist in the
1 assessment that was inserted by Alastair Campbell?"
2 Mr Gilligan says:
3 "I will quote his words again. He said, 'It was
4 real information. It was the information of a single
5 source.' My source did not believe it was reliable. He
6 believed that that single source had made a mistake,
7 that he had confused the deployment time for
8 a conventional missile with the deployment time for a
9 CBW missile. He did not believe that any missiles had
10 been armed with CBW that would therefore be able to be
11 fireable at 45 minutes' notice. He believed that claim
12 was unreliable."
13 A. Hmm, hmm.
14 Q. And at FAC/2/148, towards the bottom, Mr Gilligan, in
15 answer to Mr Illsley, said this:
16 "It was not a claim that was in any way made up or
17 fabricated by Downing Street. Another one of the
18 reasons why this story took on the life that it did was
19 that Downing Street denied a number of things which had
20 never been alleged. They denied, among other things,
21 that material had been fabricated. Nobody ever alleged
22 that material had been fabricated."
23 A. Hmm.
24 Q. Was that your understanding of the dispute?
25 A. Well, it certainly is not my understanding that that is
1 an accurate assessment of what was being alleged. Look,
2 what was being alleged -- and this is the reason why the
3 issue was such a big issue -- if what had been said was,
4 well, somebody within the system doubts this 45 minute
5 claim but nonetheless the 45 minute claim was put in
6 there by the Joint Intelligence Committee and so on,
7 I doubt it would have been a very big issue. But the
8 original allegation, never really withdrawn in clear and
9 unequivocal terms, was this had been put in by
10 Downing Street against the wishes of the security
12 LORD HUTTON: Perhaps we should look at BBC/1/4 which
13 contains the start of the Today Programme.
14 MR DINGEMANS: This is the broadcast that was made, the
15 early morning broadcast. If you look at the second
16 paragraph --
17 A. Hmm.
18 Q. -- Mr Gilligan, it is about line 4, says this:
19 "... and what we've been told by one of the senior
20 officials in charge of drawing up that dossier was that,
21 actually the Government probably erm, knew that that
22 45 minute figure was wrong, even before it decided to
23 put it in."
24 Then towards the bottom:
25 "... Downing Street, our source says, ordered a week
1 before publication, ordered it to be sexed up, to be
2 made more exciting and ordered more facts to be er, to
3 be discovered."
4 A. Yes. Well, I mean, you know, look, any person listening
5 to that would think that we had done something improper,
6 not that we just got our facts mixed up. I mean in my
7 submission, I think that anybody who listened to that --
8 this was the purpose of it. The whole thing since then
9 has been not did the Government make the wrong decision,
10 but did the Government dupe us, did the Government in
11 a sense defraud people over it? That has been the
12 central charge. My view, just to state it frankly, all
13 the way through, has been that the only thing that was
14 going to remove that was -- whatever agreement or
15 disagreement you had over whether the story should ever
16 have been run in the first place, the only thing that
17 was going to remove that was a clear and unequivocal
18 statement that the original story was wrong.
19 Q. Mr Campbell gave evidence on 25th June. I have taken
20 you to Mr Gilligan's evidence, he is 19th June.
21 Mr Campbell gives evidence on 25th June. At FAC/2/284,
22 in answer to Mr Pope, Mr Campbell said this:
23 "Well, it is true that when the BBC representative
24 came to the Committee last week [which was 19th June] he
25 claimed that all he had ever alleged was that we had
1 'given it undue prominence'. I am afraid that is not
2 true. What he said last week was not true. It was
3 a complete backtrack on what he had broadcast and
4 written about in the Mail on Sunday, The Spectator and
5 elsewhere. Now the reason why I feel so strongly that
6 we, the Government, from the Prime Minister down deserve
7 an apology about this story is it has been absolutely
8 clear not just by me - you can put me to one side..."
9 and he talks about himself, saying that:
10 "'This story is not true' and if the BBC defence
11 correspondent on the basis of a single anonymous source
12 continues to say that is true, then I think something
13 has gone very wrong with BBC journalism."
14 A. Hmm, hmm.
15 Q. Mr Campbell has obviously picked up on the fact that
16 Mr Gilligan, whatever he originally broadcast -- and you
17 have been shown what he originally broadcast and you
18 accurately set out what had been relayed to you in
19 relation to that broadcast.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. But by 19th June, when he was reading out what his
22 source says, he is effectively putting a slightly lesser
24 A. That is correct. There is no doubt that they, as it
25 were, shifted to saying: look, we are not attacking your
1 integrity, we just simply say this is what was told to
2 us, and so on. But the real problem was that the
3 original allegation had been made, it had then been, as
4 I say, backed up and really had booster rockets put on
5 it by the Mail on Sunday article and nothing -- so far
6 as people were looking at this and taking it in, they
7 were not taking in the intricacies of was this about
8 your integrity or not. The fact is that the entire
9 original allegation was an attack on our integrity.
10 I want to make this point because it is important.
11 I do not mean that in a sense I was being unduly
12 sensitive about this. I think in my walk of life you
13 get attacks the entire time. That is part of the
14 business and you should not complain about it normally.
15 Indeed, if you did, you would spend your entire time
16 complaining. This was an attack that went to the heart
17 of not just the office of Prime Minister but also the
18 way our Intelligence Services operated. It went in
19 a sense to the credibility, I felt, of the country,
20 never mind the Prime Minister. It was a very, very
21 serious charge.
22 It is correct that in the weeks that followed that
23 charge was somehow -- the ground was slightly shifted
24 but nobody from the outside would have really understood
25 that as happening. I think most of the reports normally
1 said the BBC sticks by its story, is basically what was
3 Q. Another possible way perhaps of demonstrating what had
4 actually happened would have been to show the dossiers,
5 indeed or the draft dossiers. That is what the FAC
6 asked for. Can I take you to FAC/2/287? It is question
7 1019 towards the bottom of the page. Mr Chidgey says:
8 "You appreciate how important this issue is. The
9 accusation has been made that this document was
10 adjusted, altered, sexed up - whatever - for a
11 particular political purpose" which you have identified
12 as the thrust of the complaint.
13 A. Hmm.
14 Q. "You said, and it is on record elsewhere, that his
15 process took many months to evolve. I think it would be
16 helpful if, perhaps not today but shortly afterwards,
17 you could let the Committee have information on the
18 suggestions that were made by you and your team as this
19 document evolved ... drafts were continuing ... It
20 would be very helpful if it was possible for us to have
21 copies of those earlier drafts so that we could satisfy
22 ourselves that there were no attempts to change the
23 essence of the document in order to pursue a particular
24 political point."
25 We have seen now the drafts of the dossiers and we
1 have now seen the e-mails and the suggestions that were
2 made so that everyone is able to make their own
3 judgments in that respect.
4 A. Hmm.
5 Q. Was there any reason that the FAC were not shown the
7 A. I think, from recollection, it was -- and I think
8 someone indicated -- I had not seen this before
9 actually, but what Alastair Campbell says in reply to
10 this, I think it was the Joint Intelligence Committee
11 and John Scarlett took the view that that was not
12 a right thing to do. I think their worry all the way
13 through was that, you know, there was a limit to what
14 should be shown to the FAC.
15 Q. On 25th June, Mr Campbell also made allegations that the
16 story from the BBC was a lie, I have taken you to part
17 of the passage.
18 A. Excuse me, can I just say something? I think it is also
19 important -- I mean, I cannot speculate and should not
20 as to whether, had we given earlier drafts, it would
21 have made a difference. I do just point out we
22 obviously had said in the most plain and unequivocal
23 terms that this was the work of the Joint Intelligence
24 Committee and Jack Straw had actually read them out, the
25 JIC assessment, in private on the 9th September. Once
1 you have the JIC assessment read out on 9th September,
2 it is pretty obvious that the claim is not our claim but
3 their claim.
4 Q. I have taken you to those parts where the FAC said that
5 they had those read out in private.
6 A. Hmm.
7 Q. Mr Campbell also made what the BBC perceived to be wider
8 attacks on their journalism. He described the story as
9 a lie and he described the BBC in less than flattering
11 Was this an escalation of the dispute between No. 10
12 and the BBC that you were aware of?
13 A. No, I do not think it was -- I mean, it was important,
14 frankly, for reasons that I say in my witness statement,
15 that we made it clear we were not attacking the BBC's
16 independence. But in the end the essence of this, all
17 the way through, was really an original story. But by
18 the time you got to this point, I think it was largely
19 self generating, this, because you see if it had been
20 withdrawn quickly then I think the issue would have
21 dampened down. But by the time you have got to this
22 stage, you have the FAC doing its report and you had
23 a huge row going on in Parliament. Virtually every
24 Prime Minister's Question Time I was being asked about
25 the issues to do with trust and the document and so on.
1 Q. What was your perception about how the dispute could
2 end, as it were, at this stage?
3 A. I was of the view that the only thing that would really
4 help in this situation was, as I say, whatever argument
5 we had about whether the story should ever have been
6 run, that there was something clear and unequivocal
7 stated by the BBC that the story was wrong. I did not
8 think it terribly likely we were going to get such
9 a statement by that stage and also, to be blunt about
10 it, I thought we had to move on.
11 Q. In fact before the FAC report there are two further
12 items of correspondence. Mr Campbell wrote a letter of
13 26th June. That is at CAB/1/352. He publicised that
14 letter. You have no doubt seen it, so if I may I will
15 not take you through that.
16 A. Hmm.
17 Q. And that asked for an immediate response, and a response
18 came back on 27th June which was at CAB/1/355, from
19 Mr Sambrook, effectively reasserting all the
21 If I can take you to CAB/1/360, this was in answer
22 to specific questions that Mr Campbell had posed:
23 "Does the BBC still stand by the allegation it made
24 on 29th May that No. 10 added in the 45 minute claim to
25 the dossier?
1 "The allegation was not made by the BBC but by our
2 source - a senior official involved in the compilation
3 of the dossier - and the BBC stands by the reporting of
5 There is a distinction drawn between the BBC and the
6 source. Was that a distinction that you recognised?
7 A. Well, obviously when you say recognised -- I recognise
8 those are two different things to say: this is what our
9 source says; this is what we say. I go back to the
10 original point that I made. Withstanding the force of
11 the original allegation, the only thing that was going
12 to diminish that force was a clear statement. What we
13 got into was a distinction that you would pick up, if
14 you were in the details of this, between what the source
15 says and what the BBC say. But if you were simply
16 observing this, you would still be struck by the force
17 of the original allegation.
18 That was really the point that I was trying to make
19 then and throughout, that unless there was something
20 very clear and unequivocal about the original story
21 being wrong then frankly the force of the allegation
22 remained, and it indeed did remain; actually in some
23 ways it still does remain.
24 LORD HUTTON: I think a possible indication from
25 Mr Sambrook's statement is that there is a difference
1 between the BBC directly making an allegation that
2 someone or the Government has acted improperly and the
3 BBC reporting someone else's view that a person or the
4 Government has acted improperly. Do you have any
5 comment on that, Prime Minister?
6 A. I think if you are to make that distinction then in your
7 reporting of it on 29th May you make it a very clear
8 thing. I think if one goes back to that and if one
9 takes the newspaper article on the Sunday, I think you
10 would be hard put to say: somebody said this thing but
11 we stand back from it. It was not coming across like
12 that. I honestly believe it was not meant to come
13 across like that.
14 MR DINGEMANS: Mr Campbell has told us that Mr Sambrook's
15 reply was read to him I think while he was at Wimbledon
16 and he was extremely irritated by it. He went to
17 Channel 4. He was invited to Channel 4 and made an
18 appearance that day. Did you know that that was
20 A. Yes. He phoned me shortly before and asked for my
21 permission to do it and I gave my permission for him to
22 do it.
23 Q. Do you think that had any effect on the escalation of
24 the dispute?
25 A. To be frank, I think it was pretty much there already,
1 the dispute. One point I would just like to emphasise
2 throughout is that for us the dispute was in a sense not
3 what was important. What was important was the
4 correction of the story.
5 Q. Now Mr Campbell also issued a statement, at CAB/1/367,
6 that day where he makes plain his views about
7 Mr Sambrook's reply --
8 A. Hmm.
9 Q. -- where he says, in paragraph 2, that:
10 "It confirms our central charge that they do not
11 have a shred of evidence to justify their lie, broadcast
12 many times on many BBC outlets, that we deliberately
13 exaggerated and abused British intelligence and so
14 misled Parliament and public."
15 So he goes on to describe in certain language
16 Mr Sambrook's reply.
17 A. Hmm.
18 Q. It also appears at about this time that there is
19 a letter being written, 29th June, to the effect that
20 there is no point in corresponding any further, we will
21 wait until the FAC report.
22 A. Hmm.
23 Q. Were you part of that decision-making process?
24 A. I cannot recall exactly but I think I was saying to
25 Alastair at the time: look, they are not going to
1 withdraw their story, you will just have to wait and see
2 what the FAC say. And I think I was making the point
3 too, I recall, that it was important to distinguish --
4 because I did understand this from the BBC's point of
5 view -- it was important to distinguish between their
6 independence and the story.
7 Q. Going on to the FAC report, if I can just complete with
8 that before I turn to Dr Kelly's name coming to your
9 attention. The FAC actually reported on the morning of
10 7th July. Did you have any further attempts to try to
11 resolve the matter with the BBC?
12 A. As I say in my witness statement, on the morning of the
13 7th July I had an entirely private conversation with
14 Gavyn Davies, the Chairman of the BBC, at my request, to
15 see if there was some way we could find a way through
16 this; and it was a perfectly amicable discussion but we
17 were not able to come to an agreement.
18 I mean essentially we were both agreed it was
19 important to try to calm things down, and what I was
20 saying to him -- I was not exactly clear what the FAC
21 report was going to say but there were newspaper reports
22 about what it might say. I said: look, is not the
23 simple way through this, whatever we think about your
24 original broadcast and the allegations, is not the best
25 way through for you to say: well, we stand by our right
1 to have broadcast the story but we accept the story was
2 wrong, and we say we accept that as a retraction and we
3 can debate about whether it was right or wrong that the
4 story should ever have been run, but nonetheless the BBC
5 have now clearly retracted the original story?
6 He explained that he felt he could not do that, that
7 he could not actually retract the original story, that
8 would compromise the BBC's independence, although he
9 said again very clearly: look, we made it clear in our
10 statement -- they put out a statement the night before.
11 He said: look, if you look at that statement, it makes
12 it plain we are not attacking your integrity.
13 I made the points about that that I have made, which
14 are: you may not say it attacks my integrity but
15 actually that is what the story is about, and therefore,
16 unless the story is clearly withdrawn, then the attack
17 on my integrity remains. We could not come to an
18 agreement on that.
19 Q. Mr Davies, who is going to give evidence later, I have
20 seen some notes he has made in relation to that. One
21 thing he suggests is he said there was no basis on which
22 he could apologise because the source had not been
23 disproved. Do you recollect that in your conversation?
24 A. Well, I think what happened was that he made some
25 comment of that nature and I then said to him, and said,
1 you know, in confidence actually over the last few days,
2 we do have reason to believe there may be -- we do not
3 know at the moment -- someone who has come forward as
4 a source. It looks like from what he is going to say
5 that he does not back up Mr Gilligan's story, but we
6 cannot be sure of that. I think Gavyn said something
7 like: but this is corroborated by another report from
8 Susan Watts on Newsnight. I had never heard of this
9 report so I did not make any comment on that. Anyway,
10 that was really very much at the end of the
11 conversation. At the end of the conversation we tried
12 to agree -- we said let us to try to deal with this the
13 best we can but obviously it is a difficult situation.
14 Q. I think his perception -- he is likely to give evidence
15 to the effect that he considered this as some first
16 steps to return relationships to normal. Was that
17 a fair analysis?
18 A. I think all the way through we were anxious to get
19 things back on a normal footing and indeed the lunch on
20 12th June was a part of a desire to do that. After all,
21 the BBC is the main broadcasting outlet. It is not
22 really very sensible for the Government to be in
23 a situation where we have a continuing dispute with the
24 BBC. But the trouble was, again I just simply cannot
25 emphasise this enough, that the whole of the political
1 debate was overshadowed by the story. So unless you
2 managed to get that issue dealt with then, you know, you
3 could do your very best to get back on a decent footing,
4 I think it is important we do that in any event, but
5 what we could not do was get round the fact that the
6 story still stayed.
7 Q. The FAC report was published and they rejected the
8 allegations that Mr Campbell had been responsible for
9 inserting the 45 minutes claim. Was that sufficient for
10 the Government's purposes?
11 A. No. The trouble with the FAC report, rather as I had
12 anticipated at the outset, was that it split on party
13 lines. Yes, it is true, you could say by a majority
14 they had cleared the Government, but I think the next
15 day the coverage frankly was in balance probably
16 negative, it was at best a muddied picture, and
17 certainly you would not have in any shape or form
18 thought the next day: well, that is the Government in
19 the clear.
20 Q. Mr Campbell has given evidence. He said that, I think
21 on 7th July, and this is when the FAC report has been
22 published, that he felt slightly dispirited. The BBC
23 refused to accept they were wrong. That was obviously
24 something he was very keen on and you have said you were
25 very keen on as well. He said it was just going away as
1 a media thing, or used words to that general effect.
2 Was that right, that the story was now dying, as it
3 were, or going to die?
4 A. It was obvious once the FAC had reported, it was
5 important if possible that it started to go away as
6 a story. One of the reasons -- I mean, I actually
7 helped -- on 7th July after the FAC I think ourselves
8 and the BBC both put out statements.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. In Alastair's statement, which I actually looked over
11 and helped draft a part of it, we made it clear that
12 whatever argument we had about the source, the key thing
13 was the original story. They had refused to accept that
14 the story was wrong -- well, there it was. You know,
15 maybe it would have been possible to move on at that
16 point, I do not know.
17 Q. In fact, there were other developments. Can I take you,
18 now, back to 3rd July?
19 A. Hmm.
20 Q. When was the first time you heard that a possible source
21 for Mr Gilligan's story had come forward?
22 A. I was away on a visit in the North West on 3rd July and
23 I was telephoned by Jonathan Powell, my Chief of Staff.
24 Q. What did he say to you?
25 A. We had a conversation about a whole series of things we
1 were discussing but in the course of that conversation
2 he said that the Secretary of State for Defence had
3 informed him that an official in the Ministry had come
4 forward to say that he had spoken to Mr Gilligan and
5 that he might be the source.
6 Q. And what was your reaction to that?
7 A. Well, he said that the Ministry of Defence were still
8 seeking further information and clarity. I said we had
9 to proceed with caution. We needed proper information;
10 and I said to keep the information to ourselves at that
12 Q. Right. Was there any reason that you said to keep the
13 information to yourselves at that point?
14 A. I thought it was important, until we knew what was
15 actually happening, that we did not enlarge the circle
16 of information about it.
17 Q. Were you given a name, at that time?
18 A. No, I do not recall being given a name at that time.
19 I cannot recall when I first heard the name. I mean, it
20 may have been in these telephone conversations. It may
21 not have been. I do not think it was on 3rd July, but
22 at some point obviously in the next few days I was given
23 the name.
24 Q. Then on 4th July, are you in London or not?
25 A. No, I was at Chequers on 4th July in the evening. It
1 was a Friday evening.
2 Q. Which is a Friday night.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Had you had any discussions about the possible source
5 during the day?
6 A. No, I had not; and I had a stack of other things that
7 were preoccupying me at the time.
8 Q. Can you perhaps, just so that we can all put your
9 evidence in context --
10 A. Well, there was the National Health Service. The
11 Foundation Trust issue was obviously going to be a big
12 question in the next week, and the vote was the next
13 week. We had problems in the House of Lords over the
14 Criminal Justice Bills, and also the situation in Iraq
15 on the ground.
16 Q. So you were dealing with those issues?
17 A. All I had had was a statement in the course of
18 a conversation on other things, that this might be
19 a development.
20 Q. 4th July, in the evening is this?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You are at Chequers; and what happens?
23 A. Jonathan called me again and he said that Kevin Tebbit
24 would be providing a letter, I think later that day,
25 giving details of this possible source. He said that he
1 had actually had a discussion with David Manning and
2 David Omand and John Scarlett about the next steps and
3 there had been a discussion about whether the Chairman
4 of the Foreign Affairs Committee should immediately be
5 informed, since the report was about to be published on
6 the Monday, and suddenly here we were on the Friday with
7 this information.
8 Of course, the Intelligence and Security Committee
9 were about to start their hearings. I think they were
10 due to take John Scarlett maybe on the Wednesday.
11 I cannot recall that exactly. Anyway, they concluded
12 there was not enough information to make a decision and
13 I agreed and said we should await the details in the
15 Q. Did you have any conversations with Mr Campbell on this
16 day about the matter?
17 A. No, not on that Friday. No.
18 Q. Or with Mr Hoon, who I think also knew at this stage?
19 A. No.
20 LORD HUTTON: Prime Minister, I have asked other witnesses
21 why these very senior officials were all concerned with
22 this matter. There was a discussion, and Mr Powell
23 discussed with Sir David Manning, Sir David Omand and
24 Mr John Scarlett. Why were so many senior officials
25 concerned with this?
1 A. I think it was really that this was -- I mean, this
2 whole issue was still the dominant issue. You had the
3 Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the Monday
4 into really the nature of the allegation. Then suddenly
5 at the last minute comes forward somebody who might be
6 the source. And I think there was a real concern on the
7 part of everyone -- we were in a quandary, frankly,
8 right from the very beginning. The Foreign Affairs
9 Select Committee is about to report on the Monday, the
10 report is going to deal precisely with the
11 Andrew Gilligan allegations and here is somebody who
12 suddenly emerges as the person who may be the source of
13 those allegations.
14 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
15 A. I think the reason why people were involved at a senior
16 level in the Civil Service were first of all that it was
17 very important. Secondly, certainly as the matter
18 developed, I was very, very keen, indeed insistent, that
19 we did have the senior people involved because
20 I anticipated right from the very beginning that there
21 were going to be a lot of questions asked afterwards
22 about: when did you know? Why did you not tell the
23 Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee? How could
24 you let them make their report on Monday when you were
25 in possession of information plainly relevant to their
1 report? That was I think the explanation as to why
2 people at a senior level were involved.
3 LORD HUTTON: Again, I think having heard a considerable
4 amount of evidence the reason may be obvious, but why
5 was this a quandary? What was the quandary which you
6 were concerned had arisen?
7 A. The quandary really was this: we had never really wanted
8 the Foreign Affairs Committee to look into this; we
9 thought the ISC should do it. But they had and that is
10 their right to do so and they had conducted their
11 investigation. Suddenly, as I say, at the last minute
12 forward comes somebody who may be the source of the
13 allegation that was at the centre of the FAC report.
14 What did you do? Did you inform the Chairman of the
15 Foreign Affairs Committee immediately, which is one
16 possibility and which I have no doubt afterwards people
17 would have said to us we should have done. Did you try
18 and get greater clarity of whether this was indeed the
19 source or not? So how did you handle this?
20 The reason why I thought it was very, very important
21 to involve the senior officials is that the whole
22 allegation around the Foreign Affairs Committee report
23 and all the rest of it was about the propriety of the
24 Government. Here is an issue that also seems to reflect
25 on propriety and I am in receipt of that information.
1 So I thought it was essential not in a sense to pass the
2 responsibility to them -- in the end I have full
3 responsibility for the decisions that are taken -- but
4 in order to make absolutely sure that when at a later
5 point, as I thought there would be, not obviously in the
6 context which we are talking now, but people would say:
7 when did you know? What did you know? Who did you
8 tell? I would be able to say: we handled this by the
9 book, in the sense of with the advice of senior civil
10 servants. Not, as I say, in order to pass
11 responsibility to them, but in order to make sure that
12 this was not, as it were, the politicians driving the
13 system but us taking a consensus view as to what the
14 right way to proceed was.
15 MR DINGEMANS: That is the evening of the 4th July when you
16 were, as I think you were saying, dealing with other
17 issues. Did you have any conclusion to your
18 conversation that evening? Who was your conversation
19 with; Mr Powell?
20 A. Yes. He told me about the meeting they had had earlier
21 and that they said: look, there is not enough
22 information to make a decision. I agreed and said we
23 would await the details in the letter that was coming
24 over from Kevin Tebbit.
25 Q. Did you get that letter that evening?
1 A. Yes. I got that letter that was faxed to me, I think,
2 by David Omand and that then, you know, gave a certain
3 amount of evidence obviously as to what Dr Kelly had
4 said in the interview that he had had with the Ministry
5 of Defence.
6 Q. We can see it at MoD/1/34. It is a letter dated
7 4th July 2003 from Sir Kevin Tebbit to Sir David Omand.
8 This was the letter you got at Chequers?
9 A. (Pause). Yes. Absolutely.
10 Q. Having received the letter, did you feel able to make
11 any other decisions?
12 A. No. I mean, I think it was simply obvious, as
13 I discussed with Jonathan earlier, that they had to get
14 further information about it.
15 Q. The 6th and 7th July, where are you physically? Are you
16 in Downing Street? Which is the weekend.
17 A. On 5th and 6th July I think I am still at Chequers in
18 the country; and I think that is when I get a second
20 Q. Can I take you to MoD/1/41? What had happened on the
21 morning of 5th July, if this helps, is that Mr Baldwin
22 had written an article in The Times --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. -- when some further information was given --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. -- about the BBC's source.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you read that article in The Times?
4 A. I cannot honestly recall whether I saw the article or
6 Q. In fact, I think I have shown you the wrong letter. Can
7 I take you to MoD/1/38? This is the letter, 5th July,
8 which you can see refers to: "Today's Times carries an
9 article by Tom Baldwin ...".
10 A. I do not think I actually saw the article before I got
11 this but I think probably when I got this I went and had
12 a look at the article. I cannot recall absolutely.
13 Q. Did you, having received this letter, decide to take any
14 further action?
15 A. Well, I thought that what this letter indicated was
16 effectively two things: (1) it was more probable that
17 the particular individual was the source of the
18 allegation by Mr Gilligan; and (2) the fact that the
19 media were on to it. I think in that letter --
20 Q. If we scroll down the page you can see the terms of it.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Then, over the page, Sir Kevin Tebbit -- if it helps
23 you, at the top of the next page he said:
24 "There remain many discrepancies ... We still
25 cannot exclude the possibility that the main source, or
1 other sources, are elsewhere. But it may be possible to
2 explain and reconcile at least some of the mismatches."
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 Q. He says:
5 "Records of the MoD's interview [that was one that
6 took place on the Friday] ... are still being
7 prepared... The Times story today, whether accurate or
8 not, will increase the likelihood that over the weekend
9 other journalists will indeed identify and name the
10 BBC's source as our official. (He is ... well known in
11 media/academic circles)."
12 A. Hmm.
13 Q. Sorry, does that help?
14 A. I mean, the two things that I took out of this were: (1)
15 that it was more probable he was indeed the source; and
16 (2), that this thing was already washing round the
18 Q. Or may well be washing round other parts of the media,
19 as it were?
20 A. It was in The Times and, you know, I think that they
21 were -- I certainly took that as an indication that he
22 thought this was -- you know, that this thing could come
23 out at any point.
24 Q. Had you been told that the matter might come out at any
25 point at this stage?
1 A. I cannot recall, but I mean I think -- I would use my
2 own judgment about that, to be frank.
3 Q. Your own judgment was?
4 A. My own judgment was obviously there was a -- with an
5 issue with so much political focus on it as this, when
6 someone was being interviewed and reinterviewed and
7 presumably people were talking about it within the
8 system, then you have an article in The Times, I think
9 I would have thought there was a fair possibility it
10 would leak in any event.
11 Q. Who did you have your discussions with over that
12 weekend? I appreciate it may not be possible to
13 separate Saturday and Sunday.
14 A. Yes. I mean, my recollection is that on the Saturday
15 Alastair called me, because he wanted to put to me his
16 proposal that he write privately to the BBC Governors
17 setting out the case in advance of the BBC Governors'
18 adjudication, if you like. I agreed to that. But he
19 then also raised the issue of the source because he had
20 been told that by the Defence Secretary and his worry,
21 he thought the information was plainly relevant and were
22 we not going to be criticised for withholding it.
23 I said to him what was my firm view throughout, as
24 I was just saying to you a moment or two ago, that we
25 had to proceed in a way that Sir Kevin and David Omand
1 were entirely content with, that we had to make sure
2 that the MoD's internal -- because there were obviously
3 personnel procedures that had to be gone through. And
4 again, just to say, and I am sure I said it to him in
5 the course of this conversation: Look, this is
6 a difficult situation. It is difficult to know exactly
7 how to proceed and what the right thing to do is, so,
8 you know, for goodness sake let us do it in a very
9 careful way.
10 Q. Were you aware, at this stage, that Mr Hatfield, who was
11 the personnel director of the Ministry of Defence, had
12 effectively interviewed Dr Kelly on the Friday
14 A. I cannot recall whether anyone mentioned that there had
15 been an interview. I do not think I had -- I think
16 I got more information actually once I had spoken on the
17 Sunday morning to David Omand.
18 Q. Right.
19 A. I did that because I wanted to check his view out on
20 this, because I mean I was worried about -- as I say,
21 right at the very outset I was worried about this
22 business with the FAC and should we tell them. I spoke
23 to him about it and he said he thought we needed further
24 information. That was his view. That was the
25 Foreign Secretary's view. I said: fine, although
1 I think we both agreed we had to be ready to move if
2 this news leaked. I think at that point he gave me some
3 more information about interviews that had taken place
4 but I cannot recall the exact detail of that.
5 Q. Did you know that at this stage there was no question of
6 the Official Secrets Act being invoked?
7 A. I cannot recall exactly when, but I think during the
8 course of that weekend, and if not certainly pretty
9 early on the Monday, I said: what is going to happen
10 here? And it was explained to me that this was not an
11 Official Secrets Act point.
12 Q. Not an Official Secrets Act point. As far as the
13 disciplinary side of matters goes, the unauthorised
14 contacts with the press, on Friday afternoon we can see
15 from the minutes of the meeting Dr Kelly had been
16 effectively told off and he was told he was going to get
17 a letter recording Mr Hatfield's unhappiness with the
18 situation, which would have brought the disciplinary
19 side of matters to an end. Were you told about the
20 disciplinary side of matters as well?
21 A. I think I was at some point. I just cannot remember
22 exactly when. But I certainly knew by into the meeting
23 of the 7th that their view was that it was not an
24 Official Secrets Act matter, it was a disciplinary
25 matter. There was going to be some disciplinary action
1 taken but not of a fundamentally serious nature.
2 Q. At MoD/1/41 there is a letter that Sir David Omand
3 starts to write on 5th July.
4 LORD HUTTON: I think at that point we will give the
5 stenographers a break for five minutes.
6 (11.45 am)
7 (Short Break)
8 (11.50 am)
9 MR DINGEMANS: Prime Minister, we were on MoD/1/41 which is
10 a letter that Sir David Omand starts on 5th July but
11 actually sends on 6th July. If we can scroll down a wee
12 bit, it relates to the receipt of the letter et cetera
13 and in the second paragraph says this:
14 "The Prime Minister asked for a deeper analysis of
15 what the official has actually said, read against the
16 account Gilligan himself ..." put in.
17 Do you recall that discussion with Sir David Omand?
18 A. Yes, I think what I was saying throughout was: look, we
19 need to get a -- we need to know, insofar as we can
20 know. Therefore it is important we have as much
21 information as possible. I think at some point, I am
22 not again precisely sure of which conversation this was
23 in, I was told that there was going to be a follow-up
25 Q. Right, by Sir David Omand?
1 A. I think it was David that told me that, yes, but
2 I cannot be absolutely sure. I suppose it could have
3 been Jonathan but I think it was David.
4 Q. Can I take you to a document, CAB/11/6? To tell you
5 what this is, this is part way through a document
6 produced by Sir David Omand dated 21st July 2003.
7 A. 21st July.
8 Q. It is after the event and relates to the events at the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. He is talking about the meeting on 7th July --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. -- but referring also to what he had said over the
14 weekend. If you look at the bottom of the first
15 paragraph on that page, he says that:
16 "He reiterated that Dr Kelly had come forward of his
17 own volition, and that as far as MoD was concerned there
18 was no question of any offence having been committed
19 under the Official Secrets Act. Dr Kelly's continued
20 cooperation was therefore essential. The Prime Minister
21 made it clear that MoD should continue to handle the
22 case properly, and should follow whatever internal
23 procedures were normal in such cases."
24 It is slightly difficult from the note to see
25 whether that bit related to the weekend or the
1 discussion on 7th July.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. But does that assist in your recollection?
4 A. Yes. I mean that is very much consistent with what
5 I was saying at the time.
6 Q. So you had understood, at this stage, that any public
7 involvement of Dr Kelly was to be on the basis of his
9 A. Yes. I mean, I think what was -- look, right at the
10 very outset, as I say, part of this difficulty was he
11 had come forward. We were in receipt of this
12 information. You know, the question was: what do we now
13 do with that information, in particular in relation to
14 the FAC, which was a concern; and I cannot recall
15 exactly when I was told this, but I think there was
16 certainly -- it was said that he realised that he might
17 end up having to give evidence.
18 Q. He realised he might end up giving evidence?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you recall who said that to you?
21 A. I do not but certainly by the time we got to 7th July,
22 I mean the basis of the meeting was that he had already
23 realised his name would in all likelihood come out.
24 Q. You have mentioned your concerns that the Government
25 might be accused of a cover-up in relation to the FAC.
1 Were you, at this stage, keen that the FAC reopen their
2 inquiry or did you have any view on that?
3 A. No, I mean -- look, if I had really wanted the FAC to do
4 it, I think I could perfectly properly have put that
5 information before the FAC actually on the Saturday or
6 Sunday. I really was not sure what the right way to
7 handle this issue was, but I knew that what we could not
8 do was be in a situation where we were accused of
9 misleading the FAC and that the reason why I thought it
10 was so important to involve the senior officials, as
11 I was saying to his Lordship just a moment or two ago,
12 was in order to make it -- you know, to make sure that
13 we were operating in a way that they were content with,
14 and therefore if at a later time people say: why on
15 earth did you not give this information immediately to
16 the FAC over the weekend, I could say: there were
17 discussions going on. It was being handled by the MoD.
18 This was the advice given to us by officials.
19 Not as I say to put off responsibility.
20 Responsibility is mine in the end. I take the decisions
21 as Prime Minister. But in order to be able to say we
22 had played it by the book.
23 Q. On 7th July the FAC are going to report. I think you
24 had various other matters going on. Again, if you want
25 to give us the context of your day, is it possible just
1 to give an outline of the various other matters you were
3 A. Well, I refreshed my memory from my diary and in my
4 statement. I had a breakfast with an information
5 technology consultant. I had several meetings to deal
6 with the issue of school funding. I then had quite
7 a big speech on the criminal justice system in the
8 QE2 Centre at 12.15. There was also a meeting with the
9 head of the International Olympic Committee and then I
10 had interviews with European newspapers and a meeting of
11 Junior Ministers and a Government reception in the
13 It was a fairly busy time obviously. One of my
14 preoccupations through this too was that I had the
15 Liaison Committee on the Tuesday and Prime Minister's
16 Questions on the Wednesday, both of which obviously were
17 going to continue to be dominated by these allegations.
18 Q. You have a meeting, I think we have heard, to discuss
19 really the FAC report and the reaction to that. Was
20 Dr Kelly's name mentioned at all in that respect?
21 A. Yes, and at the end of it we agreed to discuss the issue
22 of what to do in respect of Dr Kelly; and I asked
23 David Omand and Kevin Tebbit to come over and, you know,
24 we discussed the issue. As I understood it, he was
25 going to be reinterviewed, then we would be in a better
1 position to know exactly what to do, but the very clear
2 view of all of us, right at the very outset, was that if
3 it became clear that in all probability he was the
4 source, the information could not remain undisclosed.
5 Q. Can I take you to CAB/1/46? This is a memo that
6 John Scarlett dictates on 7th July. It is addressed to
7 Sir David Omand, but it may reflect some of the views
8 that Mr Scarlett was giving at the meeting, where he
9 agrees with Sir Kevin Tebbit's second letter, that the
10 finger points strongly at David Kelly as the source and
11 he had been through the transcript, and he noted what
12 Mr Gilligan had said about only having one source.
13 A. Hmm, hmm.
14 Q. He says:
15 "If this is true, Kelly is not telling the whole
17 "Gilligan must have got the 45 minute single
18 intelligence report item from somewhere, presumably
19 Kelly. Conclusion: Kelly needs a proper security-style
20 interview ..."
21 He has explained what he meant by that.
22 A. Hmm.
23 Q. Did you recall any discussion along these lines on
24 7th July?
25 A. I do not recall that. I mean obviously people were
1 concerned as to what really had taken place, I mean,
2 because you never can be sure. And one of the reasons
3 why right at the very outset I was dubious, let us say,
4 as to what would actually happen if Dr Kelly did give
5 evidence is that you can never tell what is going to be
6 said and what other views might be expressed and any of
7 the rest of it.
8 Q. The outcome of that meeting was, I think, to conclude
9 what had already been provisionally decided, that he
10 should have a second interview. Do you recall that?
11 A. Yes. I mean, I think, as I recollect it, it was already
12 the fact that he was going to be reinterviewed and
13 I thought: well, that at least takes care of this for
14 the moment. So, it is only after the reinterview you
15 then reach the point where you really have to take
16 a decision. But throughout Monday I should say that
17 I mean the two things that seemed to us very, very
18 clear, there was some surprise we expressed to each
19 other on the Monday morning that it had not already
20 leaked, and I think there was no doubt in anyone's mind
21 that if on reinterview it was clear that he was in all
22 probability the source then we were going to have to
23 disclose that.
24 Q. Now, you then go off to the commitments I think you have
25 told us about during the day.
1 A. Hmm.
2 Q. Did you have any other discussions about Dr Kelly on
3 7th July? Were you told about the interview, the result
4 of the interview or was that not until the next morning?
5 A. No, I think that was the next morning. I think the only
6 thing that happened later that day is that Alastair
7 called me early in the Monday evening to say that the
8 fact that someone had come forward should be disclosed
9 ahead of my appearance at the Liaison Committee, because
10 obviously one thing we were worried about, which is why
11 we had the meeting the next morning, is I would go to
12 the Liaison Committee and someone would know and then we
13 would get into the most frightful business if people
14 then started examining me on it.
15 Q. So I think we have been told a holding line was agreed;
16 is that right?
17 A. Yes. The next day what I did was I asked them to ask
18 Kevin Tebbit's office for a holding line on that.
19 I said to Alastair on that Monday evening that I did not
20 think we should proceed in that way; we should decide
21 what to do the next day properly.
22 LORD HUTTON: What was it that he suggested to you,
23 Prime Minister?
24 A. What he was suggesting, as I recall it, was that you had
25 to get the information out in advance of my appearance
1 in the Liaison Committee because otherwise it could take
2 us by surprise, that a source had come forward. But
3 I said to him: look, we have been dealing with this all
4 the way through with Kevin and David and we will
5 continue to deal with it in that way.
6 LORD HUTTON: How did he suggest the information might be
7 got out?
8 A. I do not think he gave particular details of that.
9 MR DINGEMANS: He did not mention mentioning it to
10 a newspaper or anything?
11 A. I honestly cannot recall. It was a very brief
12 conversation. At that point, I mean I am trying to
13 recall this the best I can but I think I was either
14 en route to or on my way back from the reception that
15 I had just attended; and I was, you know, frankly
16 anxious to get down to the Liaison Committee the next
17 day which again was going to go through all this stuff
18 about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
19 LORD HUTTON: Presumably two alternatives were either to
20 make a public statement or else to inform the press?
21 A. Those were two possible alternatives, yes. But I did
22 not feel we were in a position to move forward at that
23 stage. As I say, having agreed to reinterview him it
24 was best to wait for the outcome of that reinterview.
25 That is why it is the next day I think that we are then
1 told the results of that reinterview.
2 MR DINGEMANS: Can I take you to the next day? First of
3 all, you have a brief meeting in the morning where
4 a holding line is agreed before you go to the
5 Liaison Committee. You get back we are told about
6 11.30; is that about right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Then you have a meeting at 11.45?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you tell us, so far as you recollect, who was there?
11 A. Yes. I think the key person for me who was there was
12 David Omand. Kevin Tebbit was away in Portsmouth but
13 was going to return later. I had two other things that
14 were a preoccupation. I had the foundation hospital
15 vote either coming up I think on that night or certainly
16 it was something I was having to deal with, and in
17 addition I had an important Cabinet meeting on
18 a separate, unrelated issue at lunchtime. But I wanted
19 to know where this issue was.
20 Q. So Sir David Omand is there, you are there and there are
21 some other people there?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. But the critical person so far as you were concerned is
24 Sir David Omand?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was discussed in relation to Dr Kelly? What were
2 you told about the second interview?
3 A. David, as I recollect it, said that it was now fairly
4 clear that -- insofar as we could be clear, I mean --
5 the probability was Dr Kelly was the source and
6 therefore we now had to decide what to do.
7 Q. Did he share with you Dr Kelly's own view that he was
8 not the source at this stage?
9 A. I think all the way through what was said was that
10 Dr Kelly was saying: I am not the source for this, in
11 the sense that if Mr Gilligan says I said this, I did
12 not say it, if you see what I mean. But I think
13 certainly from the reinterview onwards, it seemed likely
14 to -- as I understood, as I was informed, it was likely
15 from the reinterview that he was indeed the single
16 source that Mr Gilligan was referring to.
17 Q. We have certainly heard that Mr Howard thought that.
18 A. Hmm.
19 Q. Can I take you to MoD/1/54? This is just a letter of
20 8th July that is written by Mr Hatfield recording the
21 fact that he has seen Dr Kelly again. He is saying
23 "As I told you last night, there was no change in
24 the essentials of his story and in particular he stoutly
25 maintains that, as in his original letter, he did not
1 make accusations about the dossier and, in particular,
2 did not suggest that any material had been added by
3 Downing Street. Some of his other replies suggested
4 that he had become rather more concerned that some of
5 his background comments might have been regarded by
6 Gilligan as providing collateral for his thesis and may
7 well have been incorporated with material from other
8 sources. As Kelly himself put it, 'I am beginning to
9 realise that I might have been led on!"
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. It was apparently made clear that it was likely the MoD
12 would have to reveal that someone had come forward.
13 A. Hmm, hmm.
14 Q. "I said that I did not think that it would be necessary
15 to reveal his name or to go into detail beyond
16 indicating that the account given to us did not match
17 Gilligan's PAC account, at least initially. It was,
18 however, quite likely that his name would come out, not
19 least because speculation about the nature of the source
20 might lead in his direction."
21 A. Hmm.
22 Q. So I mean Mr Hatfield saw no change in the essentials.
23 We have heard that Mr Howard had a different view, who
24 sat in on the interview.
25 A. Hmm, hmm.
1 Q. What was your view about the situation with Dr Kelly
2 now, in terms of disclosing the fact that someone had
3 come forward?
4 A. I thought that it was likely on the basis of what we had
5 been told that he was the source and in any event, in
6 a sense, as important as anything else, he had been
7 interviewed and reinterviewed and certainly, as it was
8 relayed to me, it looked more likely than not that he
9 was the source.
10 Q. So what was decided to be done about it?
11 A. Well, the first thing was the question was: do you
12 simply conceal this information? And the view of the
13 meeting -- it had been the view on the Monday and it was
14 the view on the Tuesday -- was that we could not
15 properly do that, for the reasons that I have given.
16 I mean, this was information that was plainly material
17 to the investigation the FAC had made, I was very
18 concerned that we would be accused of misleading them or
19 keeping information from them; and in addition, I think
20 we were literally about to start the ISC hearings, and
21 it was also relevant for them.
22 Q. So in the light of those considerations, who decided to
23 do what?
24 A. Well, we decided that the -- how do we then proceed? We
25 cannot conceal this information. What is the best way
1 of proceeding? And I mean it was a discussion about it
2 and I think the consensus was that the best thing was
3 that David Omand should write to the Chairman of the
4 ISC, copy it to the FAC for courtesy and then make
5 public the fact that the source had come forward.
6 Q. Why was there a need to make public the fact that
7 a source had come forward?
8 A. For two reasons really. I think, first of all, we were
9 at any point concerned, as I said a moment or two ago --
10 I think we were quite surprised on the Monday it had not
11 already come out, but we thought that it was likely to
12 come out at any particular point. And, secondly,
13 because once you had copied it to the FAC -- I mean,
14 I thought there was a remote possibility the FAC might
15 decide not to interview him, but I rather thought that
16 they would.
17 Q. And that was the reason that it was decided to publicise
18 the ISC letter?
19 A. Well, that you had to at least -- in respect of the fact
20 that there was somebody who had come forward, my concern
21 was to get that information not concealed but, as it
22 were, out there so that no-one could say afterwards:
23 look, this is something that you people were trying to
24 cover up or conceal from a House of Commons Committee.
25 And that was the view of the meeting. Again I say this
1 in absolutely no sense to say this was the civil
2 servants' decision rather than my decision. I take full
3 responsibility for the decisions. I stand by them.
4 I believe they were the right decisions. But the advice
5 also of Sir David, in particular, who was, if you like,
6 the key person for me, was that it would have been
7 improper to have withheld this from the FAC.
8 Q. We know that correspondence normally with the ISC is in
9 private; and we also know that by this time the
10 Foreign Secretary has given evidence in private to the
11 FAC because of the sensitive Joint Intelligence
12 Committee material. Given the concerns, avoidance of
13 a charge of cover-up, was any consideration given to
14 disclosing this information on a private basis?
15 A. I think people felt that it was -- first of all it was
16 very unlikely it would ever remain private. I cannot
17 emphasise enough the fact that we thought literally at
18 any moment this information was going to come out. That
19 was one of the reasons I had the briefing session I did
20 before the Liaison Committee. Secondly, because of the
21 sensitivity of this it was better just to be open about
22 it. Someone had come forward. Then it was up to them
23 to do what they would do. But --
24 LORD HUTTON: Sorry, up to whom -- you say up to them.
25 A. Up to them as to whether they would interview the person
1 or not.
2 LORD HUTTON: Yes. Yes.
3 MR DINGEMANS: We know that the lead department in respect
4 of these decisions was the Ministry of Defence. We also
5 know that I think Mr Hoon was not there and
6 Sir Kevin Tebbit was giving medals to members of
7 HMS Nottingham in Portsmouth.
8 What was done in relation to ensuring this was
9 a Ministry of Defence decision, at this stage?
10 A. Well, what we did as -- I mean Kevin was not there as he
11 was down in Portsmouth. As I say, I thought this
12 issue -- we had to deal with it, but the decisions that
13 we were taking at that meeting were very much obviously
14 to be referred back to Kevin and he was going to join us
15 as soon as he came back from Portsmouth. I think it was
16 also agreed that whatever way we proceeded should be put
17 to Dr Kelly for his agreement too, or any statement that
18 was made should be put to Dr Kelly too.
19 Q. Was anything decided in relation to the BBC at this
21 A. I think what we decided, at that stage, was that again
22 at least the BBC had to be given the chance to say
23 whether this was the source or not, because one of the
24 complicating factors which made our position difficult
25 is that we could not be 100 per cent sure. We all had
1 an instinct or to a greater or lesser degree as to
2 whether he was the source or not, but we did not know.
3 The only people that knew were the BBC.
4 Q. And so what was decided to do in relation to them?
5 A. So I think it was decided that some way should be found
6 of giving them an opportunity to state whether he was
7 the source or not and that would lay it to rest.
8 Obviously if they came forward and said he was not the
9 source then the whole issue would go.
10 Q. The letter to the ISC, I think we have heard from
11 Mrs Taylor that she was not particularly happy about
12 that proposed approach, and said she would not welcome
13 a letter that was made public. What was decided after
14 that? Were you made aware of her reaction?
15 A. Yes, I think what then happened was when we reconvened,
16 that the problem was that the ISC did not want to
17 proceed in that way, and that is why in the end it was
18 decided that the MoD should put out a press statement;
19 that they should give the fact openly that someone had
20 come forward but not give the name.
21 Q. But if the ISC had decided they do not need the name
22 privately, your concern is avoidance of being accused of
23 a cover-up. Why is there the need to make a press
25 A. Because this information, as I say, was already within
1 the system, it was going round the system. At any point
2 in time it could come out; and I have to say we thought
3 that giving this information to the FAC -- and we
4 thought you cannot only give it to the ISC, you have to
5 at least copy it to the FAC -- that was tantamount to it
6 coming out.
7 Therefore, I think that the feeling was: look, we
8 are best simply to be open about this. We know this
9 information. I have now had this information for
10 several days. The whole issue that has revolved around
11 the FAC has been: has the Government been open or not?
12 We were already under criticism from the FAC for not
13 having cooperated as fully as they would like and, you
14 know, provided the personnel procedures were properly
15 adhered to, provided as I say I think the idea was to
16 refer this back to Dr Kelly for his agreement, it was
17 thought that was the right thing to do. I would simply
18 emphasise we were in an extremely difficult situation.
19 Q. We know that a press statement is issued by the Ministry
20 of Defence. Yesterday I thought the final version was
21 MoD/1/56. I have been told overnight others think it is
22 MoD/1/67. It went through a number of drafts. You will
23 have to forgive me if I have it wrong.
24 Can we see that? Were you aware of any assistance
25 with the drafting of this press statement being given by
1 officials within No. 10?
2 A. I think certainly it came to Jonathan and I may have
3 scanned my eye over it myself, but I cannot absolutely
4 recall that.
5 Q. And I think we have heard that there was a drafting
6 session in Mr Smith's room because this was on his
8 A. Hmm, hmm.
9 Q. And that press statement was issued at about 5.45 on
10 8th July, and there has been evidence that it was read
11 over to Dr Kelly.
12 A. Hmm, hmm.
13 Q. Also deployed was what was called defensive Q and A
15 A. Hmm.
16 Q. Were you aware of the existence of the defensive Q and A
18 A. I was not, but I, you know, would have thought it
19 perfectly natural that the MoD had to prepare to field
20 inquiries. I assume they had been doing that for
21 several days.
22 Q. Can I take you to part of that defensive Q and A
23 material? It begins at MoD/1/62. We have heard from
24 journalists that they became aware that the Ministry of
25 Defence were prepared to confirm the name if the right
1 name was given. We have also heard that -- you can see,
2 if you look at paragraph 2:
3 "What is his name and current post?"
4 "We wouldn't normally volunteer a name.
5 "If the correct name is given, we can confirm it."
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. The journalists get to know that. Indeed, we have heard
8 one journalist read out 21 names and Dr Kelly's was the
9 21st name.
10 A. Hmm.
11 Q. We can also see that if you look at the fourth
13 "How long has he been in Ministry of Defence?"
14 "He has been in his current position for 3 to 4
15 years. Before that he was a member of UNSCOM."
16 Now, these questions and answers, it appears,
17 assisted the journalists in identifying Dr Kelly. Do
18 you know whether any view had been taken that that
19 should happen?
20 A. No, I do not; but I have to say that I think that the
21 basic view of this was -- you see, we were quite clear
22 the name was going to come out in one way or another,
23 and as far as I am aware, I think someone said this at
24 the meetings, Dr Kelly was aware of that too. I think
25 it was decided to do this by way of a public statement,
1 not mentioning the name, (a) because we were not
2 entirely clear, (b) I think to give at least a little
3 bit of time to us; but the important thing was that at
4 least the fact that someone had come forward saying I am
5 the source was no longer something we possessed. We had
6 actually been open and said: this is the case.
7 As I say, I did not see the MoD Q and A, but I think
8 the basic view would have been not to, as it were, offer
9 the name but on the other hand not to mislead people.
10 I think there was also some concern frankly if you
11 ended up with a great scrabble as to who was the name,
12 you know, other people might be thought of as the name
13 who were not.
14 Q. Was there any discussion, as far as you were aware, that
15 this was an approach that would be taken?
16 A. No, I do not think there was any specific discussion to
17 that effect, but I mean I have to say that I think by
18 then the MoD and all of us were in quite a difficult
19 position. We did not want to keep this information
20 quiet. On the other hand, we had taken the view: we do
21 not put the name out straightaway, which is an
22 alternative way of doing it. You know, in fairness to
23 the MoD press people I think it was difficult for them.
24 It was difficult for them.
25 LORD HUTTON: May I just ask you, Prime Minister, it might
1 appear a somewhat unusual procedure this, that the
2 arrangement is that if reporters ask the MoD who is the
3 source and they give names, the MoD, if the wrong name
4 is given, will say: no, that is not the person, but if
5 the correct name is given it is confirmed. And we have
6 heard evidence of the very numerous requests which were
8 A. Hmm.
9 LORD HUTTON: Now, do you think, perhaps looking at it in
10 retrospect, that it might have been a more appropriate
11 procedure if the source had simply been named in the
13 A. I have obviously thought very carefully about whether
14 there were alternative ways of dealing with this. One
15 alternative was certainly to make an open statement and
16 name him upfront. I think the reason for the hesitation
17 there was: well, we could not be absolutely sure about
18 this. I seem to recollect, but I cannot be sure who
19 said this and exactly when it was said, that there was
20 some issue as to whether Dr Kelly himself did not want
21 to be named in what I think was called the first wave of
22 media focus on it. But I mean the only thing I would
23 say, my Lord, is that if we had named him in the
24 statement, I mean -- I do not think the outcome in terms
25 of him appearing in front of the FAC or any of the rest
1 of it would have been any different.
2 MR DINGEMANS: We heard from Mr Hoon yesterday that he
3 understood that after the ISC had said they did not
4 want, as it were, to have the letter made public --
5 A. Hmm.
6 Q. -- there was a sort of different strategy deployed which
7 was that there would be a press statement, for the
8 reasons that you have given --
9 A. Hmm.
10 Q. -- but that Dr Kelly's name should not be made public
11 until he had been confirmed by the BBC as the source,
12 because he did not want to name him until he was sure
13 that he was a person who had provided this information
14 to Mr Gilligan. Were you aware of that?
15 A. I was not aware of that quite specifically like that.
16 I think -- look, the trouble was it was fairly obvious
17 the name was going to come out. The most that you were
18 doing with the public statement was getting a short
19 breathing space and obviously the BBC, in a sense, was
20 a slightly separate track of this, because if the BBC
21 were to confirm this was the source -- and we saw no
22 reason why they should not because in a sense the
23 confidentiality of the source had been waived in that
24 way, so there was no particular reason why, if he was
25 not the source, they would simply say no, and we
1 obviously were not going to ask them for the name of the
2 source if they said that. On the other hand, if he was
3 the source, why not say so? That was the way of
4 bringing certainty. The one thing throughout this was
5 we all had our instinct as to what this might be but we
6 did not know.
7 Q. If one looks at MoD/1/63 you can see the defensive
8 Q and A material makes this statement:
9 "It is unprecedented for a Government Department to
10 make a statement of this sort. Why have you done it?"
11 "There is no comparable situation that springs to
12 mind. We have set out the facts as they have been put
13 to us, on an issue of considerable public concern. The
14 official involved volunteered the information to us."
15 A. Hmm, hmm.
16 Q. Was that a fair statement, that it was unprecedented for
17 a Government department to make a statement of this
19 A. I quite honestly do not know, but I would certainly say
20 it was an extremely difficult and unusual set of
21 circumstances, and it was hugely complicated by the
22 timing of the information about the source. I mean,
23 this was one of the things that made me so concerned to
24 deal with this in the way that we dealt with it, that
25 this information literally had come to us as the FAC
1 were about to provide the outcome of their
3 Now, without ascribing to them an over-suspicious
4 mind, I was quite sure that they were going to be
5 extremely concerned as to why suddenly on the weekend of
6 the report we appear to know who the source may be and
7 then we do not tell them until after their report is
8 published. One of the things throughout I was very
9 concerned about is that we had to have an absolutely
10 copper bottomed reason for not having told them over the
12 Q. Was there any discussion about the pressure that
13 Dr Kelly might be exposed to when you were having these
14 meetings on 8th July?
15 A. Obviously one of the things that was part of the
16 conversation that we were having was what Dr Kelly did,
17 what sort of person was he, what experience did he have.
18 I mean, all I can say is that there is nothing in the
19 discussion that we had that would have alerted us to him
20 being anything other than someone, you know, of
21 a certain robustness who was used to dealing with the
22 interchange between politics and the media.
23 Having said that, incidentally, it is never, ever
24 a pleasant thing; indeed, it is a deeply unpleasant
25 thing for someone to come suddenly into the media
1 spotlight. Certainly we were aware of that. It is one
2 of the reasons why the press statement I think it was
3 said at the meeting should be agreed with Dr Kelly. But
4 there was in my view no way of avoiding the fact that
5 you could not keep this information private.
6 Q. Can I turn, then, to the 9th --
7 LORD HUTTON: Could we perhaps just look at CAB/11/4, which
8 is a note by Mr Scarlett of the meetings that took place
9 on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th July. If we look at the
11 A. Hmm.
12 LORD HUTTON: It is the penultimate sentence:
13 "If Dr K name becomes public will Government be
14 criticised for putting him under 'wider pressure'?"
15 A. Hmm.
16 LORD HUTTON: Do you have any recollection of that point
17 being raised Prime Minister?
18 A. Yes, I think throughout -- as I say, there were several
19 complicated factors of this, one of which was this was
20 a personnel issue involving an individual. Therefore,
21 one of the reasons why I was saying throughout, look,
22 the MoD has to follow its internal procedures, is
23 precisely in sensitivity to that. And again, as I say,
24 therefore there was some discussion of how Dr Kelly was,
25 how he would be; and obviously one looks back on this
1 with a completely different perception.
2 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
3 A. But I think that the best that I can say, my Lord, is
4 that there was nothing that struck me as: well, there is
5 a problem here.
6 LORD HUTTON: Yes. I think Sir Kevin Tebbit said in his
7 evidence, and I am seeking just to give a paraphrase of
8 it, but I think he did indicate that the view was taken,
9 certainly by some, that Dr Kelly was a civil servant who
10 in some part appeared to have contributed to this, as it
11 was regarded in the Government, very serious and
12 unfounded allegation against the Government and that
13 therefore it was not unreasonable that he should play
14 a part in resolving the problem.
15 Now, do you remember any references to that or was
16 there any feeling to that effect in the course of the
18 A. I do not recollect that specifically being said; but
19 I think what there was was a sense that this was an
20 unusual situation in which, you know, a civil servant
21 had come forward and admitted he had had this
22 unauthorised contact; that we could not simply because
23 of him being a civil servant say: well, we are just
24 going to keep this information to ourselves. Do you see
25 what I mean? So that in a sense we were -- of course,
1 which is the reason why I said that the MoD internal
2 procedures should apply and there were personnel issues
3 involved, but I think it is fair to say that certainly
4 my concern all the way through was that we had to deal
5 with this in a way consistent both with those employment
6 procedures but also with our duty to the Parliamentary
7 Select Committee.
8 Again let me emphasise, I say this not in order to
9 say that David Omand and Kevin Tebbit were the -- I take
10 full responsibility, but the reason why I was so anxious
11 that we dealt with this with the senior civil servants
12 in a collective way was so that the decision that we
13 took in a situation where I thought it was very
14 difficult to work out exactly what the right thing to do
15 was, was done as far as possible by consensus in a way
16 that people were content with.
17 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
18 MR DINGEMANS: I am going to leave 8th July now if I may and
19 turn to 9th July. Can I take you to an e-mail which is
20 at CAB/1/86 which is sent in the morning of 9th July.
21 The press statement has gone out at a quarter to 6.
22 We know that some journalists have started ringing up.
23 This is sent by Sandra Powell on behalf of
24 Alastair Campbell to Clare Sumner. There are copies to
25 Sir David Manning, Sally Morgan, John Scarlett, SEC A,
1 as it were. What was being wondered was:
2 "... whether in the light of yesterday's
3 developments [that appears to be a reference to the
4 Ministry of Defence's press statement], there is not
5 a case for me doing more with the ISC than the half hour
6 with a limited focus on intelligence handling. If the
7 BBC source situation develops as it might, surely it is
8 in our interest for the ISC to delve deeply into this,
9 by interviewing the source, and Gilligan and myself, and
10 for us all putting over our concerns about the damage
11 this could do to the integrity of the Intelligence
13 Was, at this stage, a view being taken that having
14 put the press statement out for the reasons you have
15 given, Dr Kelly's arrival now might be used by the
16 Government for their own advantages?
17 A. Well, look, there was obviously, in one sense --
18 Dr Kelly had come forward and said: I did not say the
19 things Mr Gilligan says I said. On the other hand, you
20 can never be sure of these situations; and actually what
21 happened when the FAC did interview him was precisely
22 that, the situation was not conclusive at all. Indeed,
23 they made the wrong conclusion. They concluded he was
24 not the source. In addition to that, quite frankly, you
25 never know what someone will say on all the other issues
1 that are put before them.
2 So, I mean, I have to say I was always -- as I think
3 I said to you earlier, I was doubtful about how much
4 benefit Dr Kelly's evidence would ever be to the
5 Government. The one thing I was absolutely sure of was
6 that we could not say to the FAC: I am sorry, we decided
7 you should not look at it.
8 Q. Can I take you to CAB/1/87, the next page? This is
9 later in the day when Miss Sumner has confirmed
10 Mr Campbell's appearance for Thursday 17th July. In
11 paragraph 3:
12 "The ISC Clerk told me that the Committee were not
13 interested in interviewing Mr Gilligan ...
14 "He said that on the source they were waiting for
15 David Omand to write to them with the correspondence.
16 He implied that he did not believe it was the source so
17 could not see the point of the ISC seeing him and said
18 they were not interested in the BBC/AC row."
19 A. Hmm.
20 Q. It is said that this point might be clarified in
21 a letter.
22 A. Hmm, hmm.
23 Q. At the top:
24 "I think one of us should speak to Ann on this."
25 It appears Mrs Taylor was not contacted.
1 A. Was or was not?
2 Q. Was not, as far as we understand the situation to be.
3 A. Hmm.
4 Q. But again it appears to be indicating a desire to use
5 Dr Kelly's appearance on the scene for the Government's
6 purposes; is that fair?
7 A. Well, I mean, look, if the ISC or the FAC had said they
8 did not want to interview him, that was absolutely fine.
9 But if they did want to interview him then obviously it
10 was potentially important for the Government but it
11 could, as I say, equally in the end have turned out to
12 be unhelpful.
13 Q. Just on that, if the ISC had said they did not want to
14 interview him, that was fine. It does seem this was the
15 Clerk before he had seen the full circumstances. But
16 his provisional view is: we do not want to.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Yet it seems that a view being taken by Mr Campbell and
19 Mr Powell, perhaps, is that there were advantages in
20 Dr Kelly being interviewed. Were you aware of those
22 A. I was not particularly aware of those views. I have to
23 say that I think that they -- look, all the way through
24 it was possible, if Dr Kelly gave evidence, that it
25 would be helpful. It was possible that it would not be
1 helpful. But the one thing that was for sure was that
2 it would not be for us to decide whether he was
3 interviewed by the FAC or the ISC or not. That decision
4 would be taken by them. And I only ever thought there
5 was a very remote possibility of the FAC, because they
6 had concluded their report and published it -- I thought
7 there was a possibility they might say: we will not
8 interview him, the ISC did that. If he was interviewed
9 by anybody, I thought the ISC was the right body for the
10 reasons I have given throughout. I do not read anything
11 much more into that than that. I notice that the Clerk
12 actually -- he seems to think he is not the source
13 anyway, but ...
14 Q. That is the reason for his provisional view, as it were.
15 A. But in the end, we had got the information that I felt
16 could not be suppressed. It was there in the public
17 statement. What the Committees did was then up to them.
18 The one thing you learn very quickly about these
19 Committees is if the Government tells them to do
20 something, they are less likely to do it than do it.
21 Whether they interview him or not interview him, that
22 would be a matter for them. You know, that decision
23 would be taken by them.
24 I was of the view, however -- I have to say this to
25 you very clearly -- throughout, that the FAC would want
1 to interview him and it would be difficult to resist him
2 being interviewed by them.
3 Q. Can I take you to another document on 9th July which is
4 CAB/25/4 and explain what this appears to be. This has
5 been located after Mr Smith gave evidence. It was
6 a document sent to Clare Sumner and not opened and
7 therefore not actioned, but at least gives some
8 indication of what Mr Smith was thinking at 2.31. If
9 I go to the next page, CAB/25/5 --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- it appears to suggest, albeit a draft statement:
12 "In the light of the new evidence from the MoD last
13 night and the BBC's own statement in response [because
14 the BBC had said: we are not going to say anything] we
15 believe we need to see AG, RS and source.
16 "The allegations made by one source through the BBC
17 have been at the centre of the issues we have been
19 The BBC Governors defended their use of the single
20 source and made comments on the BBC.
21 "AG said in answer to John Maples that he had only
22 discussed the WMD dossier with one source ... We now
23 know from the MoD statement that, if this individual is
24 not the source, that statement cannot be correct. This
25 too would be material to our inquiry.
1 "Either way there are important questions that need
2 to be addressed in order for us to try and resolve this
4 That does not appear to have gone any further, but
5 again it does appear to indicate that in the minds of
6 people working in No. 10 there was a desire to use
7 Dr Kelly's evidence before the Committees. Can you help
8 us on that?
9 A. I have not seen that obviously --
10 LORD HUTTON: I think also Prime Minister, if we look at
11 CAB/25/2, which is the covering letter -- if you would
12 just like to read that.
13 MR DINGEMANS: I think you should have been told about the
14 letter, I hope, before.
15 A. (Pause). Hmm, hmm.
16 LORD HUTTON: It is really, I think, possibly the third
17 paragraph that is relevant, beginning:
18 "The purpose of the 'document' ..."
19 A. Hmm, hmm. (Pause). Yes, well that is -- I mean the
20 trouble is I did not see this at the time, so I mean
21 I would not know. But if I could say, my Lord, that
22 I think that looking -- in the course of this, as I say,
23 the assumption was that these Committees would want to
24 interview Dr Kelly. I understand the Clerk of the ISC
25 said: well, we do not want to interview him. I think
1 that -- I do not think that --
2 MR DINGEMANS: That was only a provisional view.
3 A. I do not think that would have stood. There was no
4 doubt in my mind really -- there was a remote prospect
5 that the FAC may say no but I did not think they were
6 likely to say no. I thought they were likely to say
7 yes. Therefore it does not surprise me people were
8 talking about whether this evidence was going to be
9 difficult for us or unhelpful or helpful. I obviously
10 asked at a very early stage: what is Dr Kelly likely to
11 say if he appears in front of these Committees? But it
12 was not -- I do stress this, it was not any part of our
13 decision-making as to whether the FAC decided to call
14 him or not.
15 Q. We know also on 9th July there is the Lobby briefing in
16 the afternoon, and Mr Blitz has given evidence about
17 this, where some further details were provided about the
18 person who was the unnamed official, which he was able
19 to use to assist in his identification of the person.
20 A. Hmm.
21 Q. Do you know why further details are being given out
22 about the unnamed MoD official? I mean, it is surely
23 likely to lead to his identification.
24 A. Well, I mean again I do not know for sure and I do
25 not -- I was actually myself on the Wednesday morning
1 obviously preparing for Prime Minister's Questions. As
2 I say, I had a stack of other things on too. But
3 I think that the view was: we could not give people
4 wrong information or mislead them, on the other hand we
5 had not volunteered the name.
6 As I say, you could have -- I think you put this
7 point to me a moment or two ago your Lordship -- you
8 could have decided you put his name in the original
9 statement and that would have been a different way of
10 proceeding. For the reasons that I gave then, that was
11 decided not to be the case.
12 Q. Or another way of proceeding may have been having
13 disclosed that this person has come forward, not to say
14 anything more either about his status or about his name?
15 A. Yes. The only difficulty there I think is that people
16 would have felt that if you got a great swirl around,
17 well, who is the person, you know, and a whole lot of
18 people being named and identified, then before you know
19 where you are, they have the wrong person. Remember
20 this was still very much in the context this is
21 somebody -- I think they somewhat shifted the way they
22 described him but the original allegation was this was
23 someone in charge of the process of drawing up the
24 dossier. Not who had contributed to the dossier, in
25 charge of it.
1 So I think there was some anxiety within the MoD,
2 I think I was not particularly aware of this but there
3 was some anxiety in the MoD that in the difficult
4 circumstances what you could not do is have a whole lot
5 of speculation going on about a lot of other people
6 being the source.
7 Q. It appears requests came from the ISC and FAC for
9 A. Hmm.
10 Q. If we turn to CAB/1/93, at the bottom Mr Powell reports
11 to Miss Sumner that he:
12 "Tried PM out on Kelly before FAC and ISC next
13 Tuesday. He thought he probably had to do both..."
14 I think Mr Hoon said that he had understood that
15 from Mr Powell. Was that your view?
16 A. Yes, absolutely. I mean, I thought that -- and I think
17 the way of putting it there is an indication of my view,
18 as it were. Not: let us get him in front of these
19 Committees, but I do not see how you resist the call.
20 Even though, as I say, I wanted the ISC to deal with
21 this throughout and would have preferred the ISC to deal
22 with this particular issue, I could see, from the FAC's
23 point of view, that having had an inquiry into this it
24 was only reasonable for them to say: well, we want to
25 interview the person who may be the original source.
1 Q. Continuing on:
2 "... but needs to be properly prepared beforehand."
3 A. Hmm.
4 Q. Were you aware of what steps were going to be taken to
5 assist Dr Kelly with his evidence?
6 A. No, but I mean it was, in a sense, again the statement
7 of the obvious, that if he is going to go and do these
8 Committees, he needs proper preparation for them.
9 Q. Were you aware of any uncomfortable views that Dr Kelly
10 may have had at this time?
11 A. Yes. I think at some of these early meetings on the 7th
12 or 8th, I think there was a description given to me of
13 his overall perspective. His overall perspective was
14 one that was generally supportive on the issue of Iraq
15 weapons of mass destruction but there were certain views
16 that he held that could be difficult or uncomfortable
17 for the Government. That was one of the other factors
18 in this. As I say, you never know what people may say
19 when they are actually questioned in front of a Select
20 Committee. So then I was also aware that probably if he
21 did say anything remotely critical, even if it was
22 1 per cent of what he said, that that would be the thing
23 that would arise.
24 Q. Above that there was a response, and you were not copied
25 into that response --
1 A. No.
2 Q. -- where Mr Kelly said this:
3 "This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb -- the
4 only way they will shift is they see the screw
6 Were you aware of any view amongst members of
7 Downing Street civil servants and staff that this sort
8 of view was being taken about the dispute with the BBC?
9 A. Obviously I did not see that e-mail. The thing had
10 become difficult with the BBC for all the reasons that
11 we have given and are obvious. I mean, I have to say in
12 fairness to Tom Kelly, he was very much of the view that
13 we should try to get back on terms with the BBC and I do
14 not quite know what he means by what he is saying there.
15 But you see I think the important thing is this,
16 really: whatever people say and the way they express it,
17 it was less to do with Government versus BBC than to do
18 with this allegation. That was the thing that was
19 troubling. In a sense, viz the BBC and the Government's
20 relations, the best thing was to get back on terms with
21 after all, as I say, what is the main broadcasting
23 The problem was we literally from 29th May to this
24 day have been in the position with this allegation
25 hanging over us, with an entire campaign built around
1 it, indicating fundamental issues to do with trust, and
2 we have still not had the story retracted. I think it
3 was more to do with the story than it was to do with the
4 BBC. I see what is said there, but ...
5 Q. At this stage, Dr Kelly's appearance before the ISC and
6 FAC was not going to assist anyone until the BBC had
7 confirmed that he was the source and then everyone could
8 see what Dr Kelly had done with the dossier, what
9 experience he had, and whether or not he was in
10 a position to make the claims that he had made. We also
11 know that Mr Hoon is writing letters --
12 A. Hmm, hmm.
13 Q. -- asking for the BBC to confirm their source. Does
14 this in any sense relate to any strategy with the BBC to
15 try and get them to confirm the source so that
16 Dr Kelly's evidence could be used, as it were, as
17 a trump card against them?
18 A. It was really that you had to try, insofar as could, to
19 have certainty as to whether he was the source or not.
20 The only people who could confirm it were the BBC.
21 I did not greatly think that they would confirm it, but
22 in the event, they did not.
23 But I think it would have been -- it would have been
24 somewhat odd if we had not given them an opportunity.
25 After all, we were alleging this was the source for
1 their journalist's story. We were saying: this is
2 probable that this was the source.
3 Q. Did you have any further meetings yourself after
4 8th July relating to Dr Kelly and the evidence he was
5 going to end up giving? I mean we have seen obviously
6 the brief reference in the 10th July e-mail. Did you
7 have any other discussions about the matter?
8 A. No. I mean, so far as I was concerned, the issue that
9 I was really concerned about was dealt with. Whatever
10 anyone said, and they could make their allegations and
11 all the rest of it, but we had handled the issue, got
12 the information. We had not concealed that information
13 from the Foreign Affairs Committee. I mean, after that,
14 in a sense, you know, I was content that it should then
15 carry on being handled by the Ministry of Defence, which
16 they did. And I think more so I was then immensely busy
17 with other things that were coming up.
18 I seem to remember in addition to what I say in my
19 witness statement I had a very busy weekend coming up
20 because we had a whole series of foreign leaders coming
21 over here and I was busy with it. Then I had the speech
22 to make in American Congress the next week. In a sense
23 I felt this was dealt with as far as it could be dealt
24 with and then I could move to other things.
25 Q. We know that Dr Kelly did give evidence to the Foreign
1 Affairs Committee on 15th July and because of some
2 confusion and overruns he did not give evidence to the
3 ISC that day but did on 16th July. We know that his
4 body was found on 18th July.
5 On 21st July, can I just take you to an extract from
6 the Lobby briefing at CAB/1/235? It is at the bottom of
7 the page, it is about eight lines up from the bottom:
8 "Asked who had made the decision to confirm
9 Dr Kelly's name, [your Official Spokesman] had said that
10 the matter had been handled in accordance with MoD
11 procedures and had been overseen by those at the top of
12 the MoD in view of the fact that it had been the lead
14 When it said "MoD procedures", are there any
15 procedures that exist for situations such as this?
16 A. No. Obviously, you know, this was, as I say, a very
17 unusual set of circumstances. I think really what was
18 meant throughout was that we were all conscious that
19 this was a personnel as well as a political issue and
20 that whatever procedures they had for dealing with
21 personnel should be properly adhered to.
22 Q. Is there anything else relating to the circumstances of
23 Dr Kelly's death that you can assist his Lordship with?
24 A. No, I do not think there is.
25 Q. And is there anything else you would like to add?
1 A. No. Thank you.
2 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much Prime Minister.
3 A. Thank you.
4 LORD HUTTON: Mr Dingemans, would you like to commence a new
5 witness or would you prefer that I rise now and sit
6 again --
7 MR DINGEMANS: I am quite happy to start now, my Lord.
8 LORD HUTTON: Yes, very well.
9 MR DINGEMANS: Mr Davies, please.
10 MR GAVYN DAVIES (called)
11 Examined by MR DINGEMANS
12 LORD HUTTON: Just sit down, please, Mr Davies.
13 MR DINGEMANS: Could you tell his Lordship your full name
14 and occupation.
15 A. My name is Gavyn Davies, I am the Chairman of the BBC.
16 Q. And how long have you been Chairman of the BBC?
17 A. I have been Chairman of the BBC since October 2001.
18 Q. And, very briefly, what was your role before that?
19 A. Before that I was Vice Chairman of the BBC. Previous to
20 that, I was mainly a city economist working for
21 Goldman Sachs.
22 Q. And what is the role of the Governors of the BBC?
23 A. Well, the governing body of the BBC, the board of
24 Governors, is a supervisory board, which is distinct
25 from the management, distinct from the Director General
1 and the management. It sets high level objectives for
2 the management to fulfil, strategy for the BBC. It
3 appoints the Director General and appoints, with him,
4 many of the members of the senior executive board. But
5 it is primarily a supervisory and compliance related
7 Q. Did you hear the broadcast by Mr Gilligan on 29th May?
8 A. I did. I heard the whole of the Today Programme.
9 Q. Do you listen to it every morning then?
10 A. I do, I am afraid, yes. Not always from 6 o'clock,
11 but ...
12 Q. Did you listen to it from 6 o'clock that morning?
13 A. I did.
14 Q. So you heard the original allegations and the
15 allegations as re-phrased by Mr Gilligan in that report?
16 A. I heard the whole of the programme. I have to say at
17 the time I was not really aware of the differences
18 between the two main reports by Mr Gilligan; but of
19 course I am now very aware of it.
20 Q. At the time, as a member of the listening public but
21 perhaps paying more attention than others might, what
22 was your understanding of the original thrust of the
24 A. Well, my understanding of the thrust of the story was
25 that Mr Gilligan was saying that he had a source who he
1 believed to be a senior and reliable and credible
2 source, who believed that the September 2002 dossier on
3 intelligence had been sexed up by No. 10. There was no
4 mention of Alastair Campbell, I seem to remember. And
5 that some of the information in the dossier was not
6 fully approved by the Intelligence Services.
7 Q. As a Governor, would you have any role in the production
8 of the programme or anything like that?
9 A. No, absolutely not. No.
10 Q. We have heard from the Prime Minister about the denials
11 that were issued and his hope that the story would go
12 away with those denials.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Were you aware of those denials being reported,
15 et cetera?
16 A. Yes. I think -- I mean, I listened to the whole
17 programme, as I said, and I was aware of the denial that
18 Adam Ingram made on the programme itself.
19 Q. And subsequent denials?
20 A. Then subsequently I was aware that the Prime Minister
21 and others, I think Alastair Campbell too, had that week
22 said things to the effect that the programme -- that the
23 report was rubbish.
24 Q. They were saying they were speaking with the authority
25 of the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in
1 some of the reports that we have seen.
2 A. Yes, I do not remember -- my recollection is not that
3 they made that point at the time, but they may have
5 Q. Right. But as a Chairman of Governors, are you involved
6 at that stage?
7 A. No, I mean essentially I have to say that at that stage
8 I thought that the Gilligan reports were just another of
9 those episodes which today tends to trip over
10 occasionally; and it seemed -- I know it sounds a little
11 foolish to say this now in retrospect, but it seemed at
12 the time to be largely routine and not something that
13 the Chairman or the Governors needed to get involved
14 with at that stage.
15 LORD HUTTON: What do you mean Mr Davies by appear to trip
17 A. What I mean is the programme -- it is probably Britain's
18 leading forum for political debate. It is a programme
19 which attracts enormous attention; and from time to time
20 it becomes the centre of that debate. That is really
21 all I meant.
22 LORD HUTTON: It is just the words "trip over", if you could
23 just explain what you mean by trip over?
24 A. I think I meant encountered, my Lord.
25 LORD HUTTON: You meant?
1 A. Encountered. I did not mean -- it is one of those
2 things which the programme encountered.
3 LORD HUTTON: Yes, I see. Sorry.
4 MR DINGEMANS: Did you consider that the story put out by
5 Today and taken up in other publications, and indeed we
6 have seen that Mr Gilligan wrote an article in The Mail
7 on Sunday afterwards, put this type of story about the
8 Government into a different category from other stories?
9 A. I certainly did not recognise that at the time. I was
10 clearly very aware that for about a week at the end
11 of May and in early June the September dossier was
12 obviously the main political story of the day, and I was
13 also aware that the reports by Mr Gilligan on Today were
14 part of that story. But at the same time I was also
15 very aware that many newspapers were carrying stories
16 that were not totally dissimilar. So, as I say,
17 I regarded it as a quite sizeable political event, but
18 one that I thought would be contained to a fairly short
19 space of time.
20 Q. We have seen some of the private correspondence, it does
21 not become public until 26th June, between Mr Campbell
22 and Mr Sambrook about it. Were you aware of that, at
23 that time, or would you not normally not be involved?
24 A. I was not aware of any correspondence from Mr Campbell
25 prior to about 18th June. That was the first time
1 I became aware of the correspondence.
2 Q. We have also heard that there was a lunch on, I think,
3 12th June. Did you go to that or is that the executive
4 side of the BBC?
5 A. No, that was very much the executive side. I think
6 I only was aware of that because I saw it reported in
7 the press.
8 Q. Then Mr Gilligan, continuing with the chronology if
9 I may, giving evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee
10 on 19th June. So that at the least suggests that the
11 story is being taken seriously. Were you aware that he
12 was giving evidence?
13 A. Yes, I was aware he was due to give evidence and I was
14 broadly aware of what he said. I did not watch him give
15 evidence but I was aware of what he said.
16 Q. Can I take you to two passages in particular? FAC/2/145
17 at question 461. It is the bottom of the page:
18 "Mr Pope: Just on this issue of the 45 minutes,
19 I want to be very clear about what your source is
20 alleging. Is your source alleging that the 45 minutes
21 did not exist in the assessment that was inserted by
22 Alastair Campbell?
23 "Mr Gilligan: I will quote his words again. He
24 said, 'It was real information. It was the information
25 of a single source.' My source did not believe it was
1 reliable. He believed that the single source had made
2 a mistake [and explains it]. He did not believe that
3 any missiles had been armed with CBW that would
4 therefore be able to be fireable at 45 minutes' notice.
5 He believed that claim was unreliable."
6 Then if I can continue on to page 148. It is to
7 question 480, Mr Gilligan's answer:
8 "It was not a claim that was in any way made up or
9 fabricated by Downing Street. Another one of the
10 reasons why this story took on the life that it did was
11 that Downing Street denied a number of things which had
12 never been alleged. They denied, among other things,
13 that material had been fabricated. Nobody ever alleged
14 that material had been fabricated."
15 Were you aware of those answers in relation to
16 Mr Gilligan's evidence?
17 A. I must have been aware of the answers because I was
18 aware of the evidence. I do not think that I focused on
19 them particularly at the time.
20 Q. And were you aware that, rightly or wrongly, the
21 Government perceived that there had been a suggestion in
22 the original story that they had deliberately inserted
23 untrue evidence or forced in evidence against the wishes
24 of the intelligence community?
25 A. Again, I do not think I had focused specifically on that
1 by this stage.
2 Q. Mr Campbell gives evidence on 25th June.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. He alleges there has been a complete backtrack. I will
5 not take you to that passage, if I may. But what was
6 your view about Mr Campbell's evidence on the debate
7 between the Government and the BBC?
8 A. Well, I regarded this as a major escalation and indeed
9 reigniting of the debate between the BBC and the
10 Government. My own view was that in the previous week,
11 some time around the middle to the third week of June,
12 this story was largely moving out of the news or
13 certainly out of the front pages of the newspapers, and
14 interestingly enough, on the 18th and 19th June I think
15 we had a Governors' meeting at which no Governor
16 mentioned this topic at all.
17 So it clearly was not then of sufficient gravity for
18 the Governors to focus; but I really do believe it
19 became of great gravity after Alastair Campbell's FAC
20 evidence on 25th June; and that was, to be honest, when
21 I really felt that this had become something which the
22 Governors had to focus on.
23 MR DINGEMANS: Right. I am sorry you have only had a short
25 LORD HUTTON: Yes. This will be a convenient time. I will
1 sit again at 2 o'clock.
2 (1.05 pm)
3 (The short adjournment)
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